USPS Will Conduct Audit Amid Mail Theft Uptick in Ohio


According to a U.S. congresswoman from Ohio, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will conduct audits of its policies and procedures after a massive uptick in mail theft and violence against mail carriers has the public up in arms.

“For years now, Central Ohioans have struggled with slow and unreliable USPS deliveries, particularly in the Northland area serviced by the Innis Road branch and Southeast Columbus,” Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) reportedly said. “These audits are the first step to restoring the rapid, reliable deliveries Americans should expect from their postal service. We expect to receive full reports from the USPS following the completion of the audits in the coming weeks, and I will work with local officials to ensure the necessary investments and solutions are put in place.”

Residents in the area have been complaining that their mail has not arrived promptly, and sometimes has not arrived at all for weeks on end.

The USPS will report back to Beatty with its findings after the audit, though no timetable has been established for how long the audit will take.

Ohio has been hit hard by a string of mail thefts and violence against postal workers.

In January in Columbus, a string of mail carriers were robbed at gunpoint, their keys to USPS’ universal blue mailboxes stolen. Four mail carriers were robbed, and scores of residents reported that their mail did not reach its intended destination.

Thieves are searching mostly for checks, cash, credit cards and other valuables in what authorities say is a multi-million dollar “black market” for stolen goods.

To prevent such theft, Cleveland last week was taping shut its blue mail receptacles, as that city struggles with the same issue.

Frank Albergo, the head of the Postal Police Officers Association (PPOA), reached out to The Ohio Star after several reports on the issue, and said that as postal crimes have skyrocketed nationwide, funding for postal police has plummeted.

“The Postal Inspection Service data revealed that mail theft reports soared by 600% over three years, from about 25,000 in 2017 to roughly 177,000 through August of 2020,” Albergo said, noting that “[Postal Police Officers] (PPOs) are a highly trained uniformed police force specializing in mail theft prevention and protection of postal employees.”

“PPOs, for years, were conducting mail theft prevention patrols by using data to target specific zip codes where mail theft was most prevalent. Unsurprisingly, it was working,” he continued. “But then on August 25, 2020, the Postal Service reinterpreted enabling statute in order to decrease postal police law enforcement jurisdiction thereby ending all postal police patrolling activities.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “USPS Truck” by AcrossTheAtlantic. CC BY-SA 4.0.



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