Sen. Durbin calls for renewed efforts to protect USPS mail carriers amid robberies

Monday, April 24, 2023
Durbin calls for renewed efforts to protect USPS mail carriers
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is calling on the DOJ and USPS to protect mail carriers as robberies raise safety concerns.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Monday called for renewed efforts to keep United States Postal Service mail carriers safe after a number of them were robbed on their routes.

Concerns over postal worker safety are increasing. There has been a recent rise in armed robberies against letter carriers, with hundreds of incidents happening in the last couple of years.

Last year, Durbin urged postal offices to address letter carrier safety, but not much has changed.

Chicago police warn of armed thieves targeting postal carriers across city

In February of this year, he even met with the National Association of Letter Carriers to explore ways to improve safety. Many of the carriers even spoke up about their fear of going to work and getting robbed.

US Postal Service mail carrier robbed at gunpoint in Westchester

Durbin said in 2021 there were 154 armed robberies of postal carriers. That's way up from 36 in 2018.

"We need to make sure letter carriers feel safe and are safe out on their routes. It's important for the future of our country," Durbin said.

On Monday, Durbin stood with those representing letter carriers in the area.

He sent letters to the U.S. attorney general and the U.S. post master urging action to protect carriers and emphasizing the penalties of 10-25 years in prison for those committing crimes against letter carriers, who are federal employees.

"The victims here are not just the letter carriers. They are the families who count on the delivery of mail," Durbin said.

The Letter Carriers Union Branch 11 said there have been 80 armed robberies of carriers in Chicago since the beginning of the year.

Branch 11 President Elise Foster has taken some of those calls from members after these incidents.

"They are putting guns to not only the men, but to women just for the key. That's a scary situation; I wouldn't want that to happen to any one of our members, not to anyone," Foster said.

Durbin noted that the theft of master keys is often a motive in the attacks. He's calling for new technology to address that issue.

Once thieves have access, they can take items from the mail, including medications and checks.

"It's also happening on the suburbs. I've had friends, co-workers, customers on my route who have had their checks stolen from the mailboxes," said Luis Rivas, president of Branch 2076 of the National Association of Letter Carriers.