NOT SAFE ANYMORE: "I’m scared to deliver mail in some neighborhoods," said one mail carrier. PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

West Palm Beach, Fla. – West Palm Beach mailman Delvin Ramos was enroute delivering mail in 2017 when he was robbed at gunpoint.

Fearing for his life, Ramos handed the masked gunman his universal mail key and other valuable items.

“I go drop off the mail and then when I come back, down from the house, the car approached me and one of the guys got out and came over. He was wearing a mask," said Ramos.

"I was pretty afraid for my life then. I never imagined that something like that would happen to me. And, when it came, I was shaking and even after they left, I was still kind of in shock."

Ramos said the gunman, who fled in a car, was never apprehended.

Tracy Mothers, a mail carrier in Miami, said she was attacked by two women in 2021 because their income tax return check was delayed.

Mothers, who’s Black, said the women punched her in the face.

She said both women were arrested on charges of assault on a federal government employee.

"It’s not safe being a mail carrier anymore," said Mothers. "I’m scared to deliver mail in some neighborhoods."

With an increase in robberies, verbal and physical abuse and sexual assault, mail carriers from across the country are calling for the United States Postal Service to protect them from the growing crimes before they even happen.

In Florida, mail carriers, residents and community leaders recently gathered at Sandhill Crane Park in Port. Saint Lucie, Florida to protest against the alleged mail theft and assaults they face on a daily basis.

Ramos, Mothers and others are reluctant to go to work and some have either quit or found another job.

They were fed up being the victims of robberies, physical and verbal and sexual assaults.

National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) President Brain Renfroe said in a statement that since 2020, more than 2,000 mail carriers have been violently attacked across the country.

In 2023, he said nearly 650 were attacked on the job.

Most attackers were never caught.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the cases along with the United States Postal Inspection which did the legwork.

Renfroe said the attacks on mail carriers must be stopped after 2020 saw the most violent crimes in 10 years.

"Since 2020, we’ve seen about a 300 percent annual increase in the number of violent crimes. Typically, the robberies are people trying to gain access to the mail," said Renfroe. "The majority of these attacks involve some kind of weapon, often a gun, leaving our brothers and sisters shaken and fearful to simply do their job. This problem is growing across the entire country, including here in the state of Florida."

Some lawmakers are introducing legislation to protect mail carriers.

Among them were Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown who is sponsoring the Postal Police Reform Act, which is designed to extend protection to letter carriers by clarifying that postal police officers may be assigned to duty outside of the physical Post Office locations.

In 2023, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, a chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on the Department of Justice and the USPS to take action in response to the increase in armed robberies of letter carriers.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Durbin urged DOJ and USPS to work together to address the growing threat of armed robberies against USPS letter carriers – including by vigorously investigating these crimes and prosecuting those who commit them.

The Postal Inspection Service reports that armed robberies of letter carriers increased sharply between 2018 and 2021, an increase from 36 incidents to 154.

Durbin said robbers mostly go after the keys which can command thousands of dollars on the clandestine market because they allow access to cluster mailboxes and their contents, which include Social Security checks, prescriptions, and other valuable items.