CHICAGO - The U.S. Postal Service must "restore confidence" in its leadership after failing to address a rise in armed robberies of letter carriers, Chicago-area lawmakers say.
In a letter sent Thursday to USPS’ Board of Governors, the lawmakers blasted USPS’ "inadequate response" to address the rise in robberies of letter carriers — up from 80 robberies in 2018 to more than 260 robberies last year.
The letter was signed by Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and U.S. reps. Mike Quigley, Sean Casten and Jan Schakowsky.
Letter carriers are often robbed of their master keys, which are used to burglarize mailboxes for checks. The Sun-Times reported last week that criminals "wash" the checks of their ink and rewrite them for themselves, leaving victims with empty checking accounts while they wait months for their banks to process the theft.
"The inadequate response from the Postal Service and its leadership has caused us to lose confidence in the management of a vital public service," the lawmakers wrote. "We request that the Board hold (USPS’s) leadership accountable. The continued shortcomings of postal leadership have dire consequences for our constituents."
This is the second letter the lawmakers have sent to USPS flagging violence toward letter carriers. In July, they wrote Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and received a response last week from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service explaining that they created a task force to address the crime.
"Unfortunately, this approach is not working," the lawmakers said in their letter Thursday. "Postal employees in Chicago continue to have to perform their jobs while fearing for their lives. … We urge the Board to exercise its oversight authority to restore confidence in the leadership of the Postal Service and address the health and safety concerns of employees."
When asked for comment, a spokesman for USPS referred to the recent response letter from the Postal Inspection Service.