Local

Dangerous trend ‘rooted in pandemic’ emerging, threatening your mail and postal workers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Criminals are targeting letter carriers and your mail more than ever, creating a dangerous trend with costly impacts.

“Best we can tell this is rooted in the pandemic,” Brian Renfroe, the president of the National Letter Carriers Association told Action News Jax Monday. “There was an increase related to mail crime in general. And that’s translated into our folks being robbed for people trying to gain access to the mail.”

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Just last September, Action News Jax told viewers & readers about two mail letter carriers being robbed at gunpoint in Jacksonville, one in Harborview and one in the Westside. Those two robberies are part of a broader problem.

An Action News Jax investigation last year found more than 25,000 high-volume thefts involving mail carriers nationwide. In Florida, our investigation found at least 105 physical assaults on mail carriers and at least 50 robberies, between 2019 and 2022.

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Now, on Monday, Renfroe told Action News Jax change is on the way slowly but surely in the form of new technology for universal mail carrier keys, which criminals often steal to access peoples’ mail.

“GPS-based, similar to the type things people use to access hotel rooms. There is also a key fob technology that’s programmable every day,” Renfroe said.

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While those fobs, which can be deactivated remotely if stolen, are part of the solution to keep mail carriers and your mail safe, another is legislation the organization will soon be introducing.

“It’ll designate prosecutors in each of the 93 US Attorney’s Office, it’ll appropriate money to speed up the replacement of those keys and we’ll also set up a review to strengthen some of those sentencing guidelines,” Renfroe said.

The hope is that legislation will address low prosecution rates and sentences for mail carrier robberies, a factor Renfroe outlined as contributing to this dangerous trend.

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