Note: This article first appeared on Crosstown and is shared with their permission in partnership with Los Angeleno. You can subscribe to Crosstown for crime, traffic and air quality news here.
Mail theft is increasing in Los Angeles, and so are attacks on letter carriers.
Slowdowns in mail delivery and cuts to the United States Postal Service budget are causing outrage across the country and raising concerns about the potential impact on mail-in ballots for the November presidential election. But that’s not the only worry in Los Angeles: The city is seeing an increase in both mail theft and attacks on postal workers.
There were 300 reports of mail theft in Los Angeles during the first seven months of this year, a 30% increase from the same time period in 2019, when there were 230 criminal reports, according to LAPD data. That comes on top of a steady increase over the last decade. From 2010-2019, the city experienced a 320% rise in reports of mail theft.
Last year, there were 437 instances of mail theft, just shy of the 2017 record of 444.
Nearly 55% of the reports from January-July were for petty theft, with losses valued under $950. The 64 reported thefts in May mark the highest monthly total of the year.
It may be no coincidence that the spiking May count occurred during the coronavirus pandemic, when many Angelenos were adhering to stay-at-home orders. That led to a flood of package deliveries as people ordered goods online rather than shopping in person. There have also been reports of increasing crimes by “porch pirates,” with opportunistic thieves grabbing boxes or packages left outside homes by Amazon, UPS or other non-Postal Service companies.