After recent Queens mail thefts, U.S. Postal Service urged to install more secure mailboxes

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Money-hungry mail thieves continue to hit Queens hard — and now, one local Congresswoman wants the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to take substantial action.

Congresswoman Grace Meng called on the USPS to install new anti-theft collection boxes across the “World’s Borough.” The boxes have smaller slots which make it more difficult for thieves to commit “mail fishing” — dropping a line or a stick into a mailbox in order to retrieve envelopes that may contain checks and/or financial information.

In her Feb. 1 letter to Elvin Mercado, the USPS Triboro District manager, Meng said that mail fishing “has become so prevalent that local police precincts have suggested that residents bring their mail directly to the post office and not leave it in” local collection boxes.

Rego Park and Kew Gardens Hills, both of which are in Meng’s district, are among the Queens neighborhoods hardest hit by mail fishing thieves, the congresswoman said. Other neighborhoods have been affected by mail theft going back at least several years.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that Queens residents cannot safely leave their mail in USPS collection boxes due to the danger of mail fishing, which can result in identity theft and bank fraud,” Meng said in a statement. “Many of the victims of mail fishing are seniors who are particularly vulnerable to these reprehensible schemes and have no means of protecting themselves.”

Meng wants the USPS to replace the traditional blue mailbox featuring a wide, movable door with mailboxes equipped with a narrow slot by which residents can deposit thin envelopes. This would make it more difficult for mail thieves to drop in their makeshift fishing lines and pull out the mailbox’s contents.

“USPS must act at once to stop this unconscionable crime,” the congresswoman added. “The agency must replace all collection boxes in Queens with anti-theft collection boxes to prevent continued mail fishing in our borough.”

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