Postal carrier attacks on the rise nationwide: Here’s what most robbers are after

Data obtained by 9 Investigates uncovered that from January 2019 through June 2022, at least 2,600 mail carriers were attacked nationwide, with at least 170 arrow keys stolen.

Of those, 67 of the key thefts were just in the first half of 2022, blowing past the total of 55 keys taken in 2021.

“It’s an arrow key. It’s used to open up certain mailboxes, and the bad guys, they want the keys, so often we’ll see our carriers robbed,” Postal Inspector Rick Johnsten said.

We asked what more can be done to protect the workers.

“We deliver to 150 million addresses per day. My agency isn’t nearly big enough if we want to investigate also and watch the mail carriers at the same time,” Johnsten said. “So we have to prioritize.”

But we learned that the USPS has known about this problem for at least three years. An audit initiated in 2019 found “the agency’s management controls over arrow keys were ineffective, the number of arrow keys in circulation is unknown and that new technology, including keyless locking and key tracking, could improve management controls over lost keys,” and protect workers. Until changes are made, those employees remain vulnerable.


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