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Rallies in Dallas, 2 other cities to protest crimes against mail carriers

Protests in Dallas, 2 other U.S. cities to tackle crimes against mail carriers
Protests in Dallas, 2 other U.S. cities to tackle crimes against mail carriers 03:02

DALLAS – Rallies are scheduled in three cities Thursday – including Dallas  – about a crime wave that CBS News Texas was first to bring attention to early last year. 

Assaults and robberies of letter carriers for the U.S. Postal Service is at an all-time high – and it subjects all of us to fraud and theft. 

Some DFW letter carriers say they go to work afraid. 

Vania Garcia, a proud U.S. Postal Service letter carrier for five years, says she hasn't felt comfortable delivering mail on her route in Northeast Dallas since November, when someone assaulted her while trying to steal her truck. 

"I was scared to deliver mail the next day but I need to work because I have a family," Garcia said. "It is what it is."

The need to support a family is why Omar Arias will return to work next week for the first time since he was robbed of parcels and a mailbox key at gunpoint earlier this month.

"He told me with a gun at my chest, 'give me the key,' so I had to give it to them," Arias said.

That key, called an arrow key, can be sold for thousands of dollars on the dark web because they open just about any collection box whether it's outside a post office or in a community or apartment  mailroom.

Letter carriers in DFW have been robbed eight times since the end of December. 

It's why their union is organizing rallies tomorrow in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Jacksonville -- places where postal police say the crime has reached a crisis level. 

Frank Albergo, national president of the Postal Police Officer's Association, says robberies and thefts of letter carriers have increased more than 800 percent from 64 in 2019 to 610 last year.

Postal Police officers believe they could reduce those numbers if they were allowed to patrol routes they say has been eliminated in recent years to cut costs. 

"Every day you have another carrier who has a gun stuck in their face, you have mail being stolen, you have bank account being drained, it's a major problem and the inspection service has a postal police force which it refuses to use," Albergo said.

The US Postal Service implemented a number of security measures last year to try and thwart criminals by adding new locks to some collection boxes. 

But letter carriers and postal police officers say the changes don't go far enough.

USPS issued a statement to CBS News Texas about tomorrow's letter carrier rallies that says: "We respect our employees' rights to express their opinions and participate in informational picketing while off the clock."

Off the clock is the only time that Garcia says she feels safe, especially with tax season now making mail theft even more enticing to criminals. 

"It's hard," Garcia said. "Sometimes I'm scared for my life because people are trying to rob you."

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