- New York City experiences an alarming increase in mail theft incidents, with arrests occurring in Queens’ Maspeth neighborhood, indicating a widespread issue.
- Resident Joe Croce shares personal experiences of repeated mail thefts in broad daylight, while Congresswoman Grace Meng reveals that such incidents are becoming an epidemic in Queens.
- As part of the efforts to curb this growing problem, Congresswoman Meng shares plans for installing electronic locks on existing mailboxes while authorities offer advice to residents on how to protect their mail.
Mail theft is a rising issue in New York City and throughout the country, according to the New York Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). In the Maspeth neighborhood of Queens, two individuals were apprehended on suspicion of stealing mailboxes, a trend that has been plaguing the city.
One resident expressed frustration at the growing problem, lamenting to Fox News, “We lost credit cards.” Authorities are exerting considerable efforts to safeguard New Yorkers from this increasingly concerning and perplexing crime.
In 2022, the United States Postal Service (USPS) documented over 38,000 instances of mail theft nationwide. Already, in the first six months of this year, more than 25,000 cases have been reported, signaling a potential increase over the previous year. The theft of mail from residences and streets is surging both in New York City and across the U.S. Over the past five years, more than 1,000 people have been apprehended for mail theft nationwide, with some of the accused being USPS employees.
One Maspeth resident, Joe Croce, shared with ABC News his anger and disbelief at witnessing thieves brazenly ransack his local postal mailbox. “In broad daylight every time,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it at first, and then you start to believe it after the 10th time that, you know, it keeps happening.” Croce detailed the bold tactics of the thieves: “This is a new way mail thieves have been striking: two people pull up in a car. They go into the box and open it with their own key. There is a large bag in the box, and they take it, get in the car and drive off. In a short time.” He noted that thefts tend to spike on Fridays and after holidays when individuals receive more checks.
The escalating wave of mail theft has caught the attention of postal inspectors and politicians alike. Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY 6th District) alerted the public that mail theft is reaching epidemic proportions in certain parts of Queens, as criminals steal keys from mail carriers to access mailboxes before the intended recipients receive their mail. Congresswoman Meng revealed, “There have been more than 600 cases reported this year in my constituency alone. Those are just the cases we have heard about.” In a recent event, she invited USPIS agents and NYPD 104th Precinct officers to discuss mail theft prevention strategies with Maspeth residents.
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Additionally, Congresswoman Meng disclosed a forthcoming plan to install 49,000 electronic locks on existing mailboxes as a replacement for the current locks. She urged the Postal Service to prioritize Queens in implementing this nationwide initiative, as reported by QNS.com.
The problem extends beyond Queens. In March, four young men, three of whom were Hispanic, were apprehended in Lenox Hill, Manhattan, on suspicion of mail theft, a federal crime that has been surging on the Upper East Side, as police report. As a response to the increasing mail theft since 2019, the 5,000 mailboxes across New York City’s five boroughs have been replaced. Though their traditional color and shape remain unchanged, they are theoretically less susceptible to mail thieves due to the substitution of the wide slot with a narrower one.
To avoid becoming victims of mail theft, authorities advise individuals to frequently monitor their mailboxes and to mail letters from USPS offices when possible. They also caution against sending or soliciting cash through the mail and recommend avoiding sending checks and conducting financial transactions online through trustworthy portals. Additionally, they suggest depositing mail in street-side blue mailboxes close to the listed collection time.
The Postal Inspection Service encourages the public to report mail theft and related offenses by calling 877-876-2455 or visiting their website at uspis.gov/report for more information.