By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Recent occurrences in the Palisades have sparked questions about the Postal Service within the community, including a mailbox being tampered with and delivery delays.
“Someone—either a thief or a practical joker—put some really strong stickum on the shelf of the drive-up mailbox at the Village Green,” Palisadian Warren Cereghino wrote to the Post in early August, noting that similar activity has occurred at the box located at Radcliffe and Carthage.
Cereghino said he immediately drove to the post office to tell them about it, where he said he was told that someone else had alerted the office ahead of him.
“Being acutely aware of attempts to steal mail via stickum, I always make sure my letters always drop, and I had to struggle to get both letters in,” Cereghino said.
Cereghino provided an update on September 8 that he has noticed the box’s letter chute seems to have some sort of blockage that’s not stickum but requires some pushing to get a standard business-sized envelope to drop.
“Anti Fishing devices are being installed on collection boxes for prevention,” Patricia Mendoza, Postal Inspector for the Los Angeles Division, shared in an email to the Post. Mendoza was unable to provide a timeline for when the mailbox at the Village Green would have this device installed.
“The US Postal Inspection Service works closely with the US Postal Service to identify evolving trends to ensure optimal expenditure of resources,” she shared.
Last year, it was reported by multiple outlets that USPS was in the process of changing out most of the mailboxes in New York City to add these devices—with mail fishing, a type of theft aimed at stealing checks that can be altered later, on the rise.
Mendoza shared some prevention tips for the community: “Deposit outgoing mail into a blue collection box before the final pick up of the same day of deposit. Check the pick-up schedule posted on the box to ensure your mail will not sit in the box overnight or over the weekend.”
She also encouraged residents to report glue, tape or sticky substance found on mailboxes to the Post Office and to Postal Inspectors.
“Immediately report any suspicious activity at any mail receptacle to your local police,” she added. “You can report mail theft, identity theft, fraud or other crimes involving the U.S. Mail by calling our national hotline at 877-876-2455.”
In a recent Pacific Palisades Community Council newsletter, it was reported that Janet Turner, U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu’s field supervisor, advised that neighborhoods in his Congressional District (33), which includes the Palisades and Brentwood, have been experiencing mail delays and other issues related to delivery and security.
“We have continued to hear from constituents concerned with mail delivery times from across our district, including Pacific Palisades,” said Jenna Bushnell, spokesperson for Lieu. “Some of these challenges have been attributed to COVID-19-related capacity problems, and others are likely due to USPS changes made at the national level.”
Bushnell continued that Congressman Lieu is “working diligently with his colleagues to ensure we provide much-needed assistance to protect the Postal Service and ensure our constituents receive their mail in a timely manner.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to heavy parcel volume, as customers continue to place online orders of essential items as they shelter in place,” Evelina Ramirez, USPS spokesperson, shared with the Post. “Our employees, including those at the Palisades Post Offices, are working diligently to keep up with the increased volume. We are flexing our available resources to match the workload and appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees as conditions change on a day-to-day basis.”
According to a statement shared on its website, the Postal Service has “more than enough capacity to handle election mail volume.”
“The Postal Service has more than enough capacity, including collection boxes and processing equipment, to handle all election mail this year, which is predicted to amount to less than 2% of total mail volume from mid-September to Election Day,” according to the statement.
Customers with delivery concerns should reach out to their post office or contact the Customer Care Center at 800-275-8777. Concerns about security should be sent to the Postal Service Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 or uspis.gov.
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