Mail carriers hold vigil to bring attention to assaults during deliveries
By MARY MITCHELL November 22, 2013 6:54PM
Updated: December 25, 2013 6:36AM
In a civilized society, the preacher isn’t too scared to leave the door unlocked during church services. Teachers aren’t reluctant to park in the school’s parking lot. Medical and fire personnel aren’t worried about being shot when they are trying to save a life.
Unfortunately, Chicago is becoming less and less civilized.
In the last month at least six letter carriers have been assaulted while trying to deliver the mail.
According to alerts issued by the United States Postal Service:
On Nov. 15, a letter carrier was robbed at gunpoint in the 700 block of North Sawyer. The thieves hit the carrier in the head, stole money, the vehicle and the mail.
On Nov. 14, a robber tried to snatch a letter carrier’s phone.
On Nov. 8, Chicago police arrested a man for groping an Irving Park letter carrier.
On Oct. 9, a man verbally abused and threatened a Jefferson Park carrier.
On Oct. 28, two packages were stolen from a carrier’s cart on the 7400 block of South Vernon.
On Oct. 16, a letter carrier in the Cragin neighborhood suffered a fractured jaw after being attacked by two men, one of whom had a gun.
“The more they are letting people assault us, the more it is going to happen because there are no consequences,” said Consuelo Goodlow, who was attacked by two women while delivering mail in the 3200 block of North Avenue last August.
April Woods still gets choked up when she talks about what happened after two men stole packages out of her mail cart on the 7400 block of S. Vernon.
“They were a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old. They got some type of supervision. They were charged with a theft — not that they robbed a postal worker,” Woods said.
“I do love my job, but it is the crime in Chicago that is making everything seem so unsafe,” she said.
“It used to be letter carriers had a certain respect in the neighborhood, but those days are gone,” said Mack Julion, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 11-Chicago.
Julion believes a decision by the Chicago District Postal Service to push back the start time for most letter carriers to as late as 8:30 a.m. will only make the situation worst.
“The Chicago District is not doing enough in terms of trying to keep carriers safe,” Julion said.
“Their response is to start carriers later making it more likely that they will be out on the streets at night in the dark. That just increases the likelihood that a carrier can get hurt.”
Mark Reynolds, a spokesman for the Chicago U.S. Postal Service, agreed there have been a series of assaults on letter carriers, but noted this is not a “sudden development.”
“We are aware letter carriers would like to start earlier and get off the streets earlier,” Reynolds said.
“Unfortunately, we have to balance that against our processing facilities. If we brought them in earlier, they might be waiting for the mail.”
Reynolds also claimed that “all of the delivery routes” in the City of Chicago work out to be an “8-hour route” even in cases where carriers are starting at 8:30 a.m.
“We would still have them on their way home by 5 p.m.,” Reynolds said.
Julion disputes that claim.
“We had a carrier on the streets delivering mail up until 1 a.m. last week,” he said.
On Monday evening, letter carriers will hold a flashlight vigil at the main post office at 433 West Harrison St. to bring attention to their plight.
“We need to start earlier,” Julion said.
“We want to bring light to the fact that carriers are out there at night.”