Robberies of Los Angeles mail carriers - particularly on the first of the month when government checks are delivered - have soared, prompting postal authorities to take drastic security measures and plead with residents to keep “a watchful eye” on their neighborhood carriers.
Fully half of the 294 robberies of carriers or postal facilities in the U.S. last year occurred in the Postal Service’s six-county Greater Los Angeles region. There were 148 robberies in this region last year, more than six times as many as in New York.
Postal Service officials now station more than 100 armed postal inspectors along mail routes on the first of the month in the city’s core. Earlier this month they suspended first-of-the-month mail delivery on several blocks where letter carriers have been threatened repeatedly.
Robberies of mail, rare in the past, began to soar nationally in 1992, with the Los Angeles region leading the way. They rose here from 41 in 1992 to 73 in 1993 to 148 last year, postal inspectors said.
The practice of suspending mail in troubled areas is rare but not unprecedented. Similar restrictions have been implemented in Atlanta and Dallas when postal carriers have been robbed by gunmen seeking a bounty of checks.
“Thefts of the mail are a cyclical problem, but we have never experienced the number of robberies against letter carriers that we are having today,” said postal inspector Randy DeGasperin.