Though mail-related crimes are as old as the U.S. Postal Service itself, it seems as though criminals are coming up with new or novel offenses. Stolen or counterfeit mailbox keys seem to be a hot item lately, along with breaking and entering post offices to get at other people’s mail.
But is mail-related crime actually on the rise? It’s hard to say. Authorities either don’t collect statistics on such crimes or they fail to report it in a way that might give a clear picture of whether the national mail system is more or less secure than it used to be.
What little data there is suggests something counterintuitive: that postal crimes, or at least the reported enforcement of related laws, has decreased in recent years. The decline has been sharp, by some measures.
A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the USPS, said no data is available on the incidence of mail-related crimes locally or statewide, and he could not provide even national figures that can be compared over time. Spokesman Matthew Norfleet was unable to say whether any type of postal-related crime is up or down relative to any time in the recent past.