Legislators Urge PMG To Protect Letter Carriers After Uptick In Robberies

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representatives Sean Casten (D-IL-6), Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), and Marie Newman (D-IL-3) today sent a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy urging him to take action to protect letter carriers after crimes against U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees tripled since 2018. In their letter, the lawmakers call on Postmaster General DeJoy to implement an alerting policy to ensure that all USPS employees are made aware of any potential threats.

“We write with growing concern at the increasing levels of violence and crime experienced by letter carriers around the country.  According to the Postal Inspection Service, nationwide reports of mail carrier robberies have more than tripled in recent years, from 80 robberies in 2018 to more than 260 in 2021.  We encourage the United States Postal Service (USPS) to take additional steps to ensure the safety of letter carriers as they serve the public,” wrote the lawmakers. 

In 2011, following another increase in crime against letter carriers, USPS instituted an outreach system to protect employees and notify them of any threat of danger. As the lawmakers note, the program was halted without explanation.

“The result was an extensive outreach campaign to notify all letter carriers and station-based employees of the appropriate steps and precautions to take when a crime had been committed in their vicinity.  The Postal Service has inexplicably stopped this important program that helped to ensure the safety of its workforce.  Our offices were informed that USPS continues to send alerts via carrier scanner devices but we have heard reports that this function is not required to be used and is at the discretion of local postal officials.  We request that you ensure all relevant devices are receiving these alerts,” wrote the lawmakers. 

“We urge USPS to resume this critically important service as quickly as possible.  We also request that these alerts be disseminated widely to labor unions, supervisors, and other points of distribution to ensure carriers completing their rounds are alerted as soon as possible,” they concluded.

A copy of the letter can be found here and below:

July 18, 2022

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy:

We write with growing concern at the increasing levels of violence and crime experienced by letter carriers around the country.  According to the Postal Inspection Service, nationwide reports of mail carrier robberies have more than tripled in recent years, from 80 robberies in 2018 to more than 260 in 2021.  We encourage the United States Postal Service (USPS) to take additional steps to ensure the safety of letter carriers as they serve the public.

            In 2011, after another concerning increase in carrier robberies and assaults, Senator Durbin wrote a letter to Postmaster General Donahoe requesting more aggressive action to protect letter carriers.  The result was an extensive outreach campaign to notify all letter carriers and station-based employees of the appropriate steps and precautions to take when a crime had been committed in their vicinity.  The Postal Service has inexplicably stopped this important program that helped to ensure the safety of its workforce.  Our offices were informed that USPS continues to send alerts via carrier scanner devices but we have heard reports that this function is not required to be used and is at the discretion of local postal officials.  We request that you ensure all relevant devices are receiving these alerts.

We urge USPS to resume this critically important service as quickly as possible.  We also request that these alerts be disseminated widely to labor unions, supervisors, and other points of distribution to ensure carriers completing their rounds are alerted as soon as possible.  We ask that you provide us with regular updates on the effectiveness of these measures in reducing the incidence of crime against letter carriers.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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