SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has created a new initiative called Project Safe Delivery to combat recent rises in package theft also known as porch piracy.
The project’s main goal is to train delivery workers on how to properly handle and respond to porch pirates. Encounters between mail carriers and offenders can become violent as many offenders attempt to use physical means when stealing.
“The men and women of the Postal Service are walking our nation’s streets every day to fulfill our mission of delivering mail and packages to the American people,” Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy said in a statement, “Every Postal employee deserves to work in safety and to be free from targeting by criminals seeking to access the public’s mail.”
“[There are] over 700 investigations in metropolitan areas in regards to mail theft and carrier assaults,” Mark Lawrence, USPS strategic communications specialist said. “So if you do consider doing anything with the mail or to one of our carriers, the postal inspectors will bring you to justice.
The initiative responds to a larger issue of high crime rates in the U.S.
“ Our country over the last couple years has seen an increase in crime. So the postal office service is no longer unaffected by that matter,” Lawrence said.
In the last three months, 44 million Americans were impacted by porch pirates. In 2022, 68% of New York households reported package theft.
“We’re doubling down on our efforts to protect our Postal employees and the security of the mail. We are hardening targets – both physical and digital – to make them less desirable to thieves and working with our law enforcement partners to bring perpetrators to justice,” said Postal Inspection Service Chief Gary Barksdale in a USPS press statement.
The rising issue has sparked concern among many New York state residents including Syracuse resident Tatiana Hellwig who is concerned about the safety of her family.
“I am kind of scared because people can just be like coming onto my property and I don’t know if they are dangerous in any way or have some type of malicious intent,” Hellwig said.
The USPS has recognized the growing concern and has made it an objective of Project Safe Delivery’s to also educate the public on how to protect their mail.
“If you do send something out and leave it in your mailbox, try not to have that sit in your mailbox overnight, be observant of what time your carrier usually approaches and deliver your mail,” Lawrence said.