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Here’s how the US Postal Service combats parcel crime

No holiday season increases: US Postal Service is expecting lower volumes
No holiday season increases: US Postal Service is expecting lower volumes

The US Postal Service (USPS) and US Postal Inspection Service have intensified their efforts to combat ‘porch pirates’. Or rather, postal crime in general.  

Called Project Safe Delivery, the initiative launched in May 2023 and includes limiting attacks on postal employees and mail theft incidents. It aims to safeguard USPS employees and the nation’s mail and packages. 

The Inspection Service, along with various USPS departments, is actively engaged in this mission, focusing on both physical and digital security measures.

How it’s enforcing safer deliveries

Law enforcement surges: Targeted law enforcement surges were conducted in Chicago, San Francisco, and Ohio, resulting in the arrest of over 600 individuals for postal crimes. These operations involved collaborations with federal and local law enforcement agencies.

High-security blue collection boxes: The USPS has installed over 10,000 high-security blue collection boxes in high-risk areas to deter criminals and protect the contents. Further installations are in the pipeline.

Replacement of arrow locks: Antiquated arrow locks have been replaced with electronic locks to prevent criminals from accessing mail receptacles. Over 6,500 locks have been replaced, with plans for an additional 42,500 electronic locks nationwide. Accountability reviews for arrow key usage have also been intensified.

Fraudulent change of address reduction: Better authentication procedures for change of address submissions have resulted in a 99.3% reduction in fraudulent COA submissions. It has, in turn, significantly reduced identity theft-related fraud.

Counterfeit package postage controls: The postal service employs artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analysis to identify and intercept packages with counterfeit labels. 

This effort has led to a 50% reduction in counterfeit package postage within the postal network. The Inspection Service continues to collaborate with partners and take legal action against offenders, including website shutdowns and eCommerce account closures.

Monetary rewards

In addition to these above actions, the Inspection Service has increased monetary rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals involved in mail crimes. This includes mail fraud, theft, and assault. 

UPS employing AI security

The surge in “porch piracy,” where packages are stolen from doorsteps, has forced UPS to employ innovative solutions.

ALSO READ: This is how last-mile delivery looks like in crime-riddled Africa 

UPS introduced an AI-powered solution called DeliveryDefense, utilizing historical data and machine learning algorithms. Each location is assigned a “Delivery Confidence Score” on a scale of 1 to 1,000, indicating the likelihood of successful delivery.

If a location receives a low score, recipients are informed, enabling them to opt for in-store collection or delivery to a secure UPS pick-up point.

The technology aims to help merchants make informed decisions about shipping options, enhancing customer experience and reducing delivery risks.

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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