Congresswoman sends follow-up letter calling for additional security of green relay boxes

Last month, US Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) urged the United States Postal Service (USPS) to do more to combat the theft of mail from green relay boxes in Queens.

In July, Meng wrote to the district manager who oversees postal operations in Queens, calling for the Postal Service to address the problem. Although some changes were recently made, the Congresswoman wants to see them expanded, and in a follow-up letter to District Manager Frank Calabrese, called for additional steps to be taken. They include:

Reducing the amount of time that mail is left in relay boxes to lower the chances of thieves stealing the envelopes inside;

Installing more locks on relay boxes including all that are located in Meng’s congressional district; and

Notifying the public – specifically those impacted – when mail in relay boxes has been stolen.

Meng’s letter also highlights that mail theft has drastic consequences for letter carriers who deliver our mail. Letter carriers are frequently targeted, sometimes violently, by mail thieves, and this wave of thefts from relay boxes threatens their physical safety as well as the crucial service they provide to the public.

The dark green relay boxes are used to store mail and are located next to many of the blue collection boxes throughout the borough.

Meng’s efforts to protect mail in relay boxes comes after the Postal Service retrofitted blue collection boxes in Queens with mail slots after she urged the agency to do so. The Congresswoman made the request in 2018 to combat the problem of “mail fishing” in the borough, which is when criminals place string connected to a sticky material into the collection boxes, and “fish” out the envelopes. The narrower slots make it more difficult for thieves to steal the mail that is inside.