After a hiatus of only a few days, mail service was restored in and around the 1300 block of 14th Street in Santa Monica on Tuesday after the USPS had previously stopped delivering there due to attacks against postal workers.
Since January, a recent resident of the area had attacked three different mail carriers. In the most recent case in early April, witnesses to the attack saw that the assailant used a golf club to knock over a cart, allowing mail to go all over the street. Due to inaction from the city to stop these attacks or confront the individual going after the carriers, the USPS took the drastic action to cut off service.
“Multiple carriers have been subjected to assaults and threats of assault from an individual who has not been located or apprehended,” the USPS said in a letter to residents on April 7th. “The safety of our employees and of the mail they deliver to you is our highest concern. Until we can ensure the safety of both, delivery services will remain suspended.”
The announcement on Monday quickly caused the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) and the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) to scramble into action. Specifically, USPIS launched an investigation while the SMPD, facing backlash from local citizens and people across the country after seeing the story for the post office doing something so drastic, quickly looked into everything surrounding the decision.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the SMPD said that in working with the USPIS they found no new complaints or attack reports. The main suspect behind the attacks was found to have been arrested over the weekend but out once again with a citation to return to court in May. The investigation over the attacks will then either be given to the city Attorney or County District Attorney, dependent on if they will go down as either a misdemeanor or felony. Finally, the police announced that mail service will resume, with the SMPD working with investigators from both their department and the USPIS.
“SMPD continues to work diligently with investigators in our department and the USPIS to make sure mail can be delivered safely to all our residents. AS OF TUESDAY, APRIL 12th, MAIL SERVICE HAD BEEN RESTORED TO THE AREA.”
Resumption of postal service
The USPS added that even with service back, the routes will be reviewed continuously to make sure the routes are safe for postal carriers.
While high property crime rates in Santa Monica and the police not acting quickly enough were blamed by many, others noted that the Santa Monica Post Office had done things like this before and was more of a case of a too powerful post office rather than simply a police department not going after crime very well.
“In 2019, several streets had service cut off for several weeks because of a supposed dog attack on one of the workers,” explained local resident Ronald Amato to the Globe on Wednesday. “They also didn’t serve a few streets in 2020, not due to COVID, but from what people who lived there saying that the sidewalk was too dangerous. I didn’t follow up on that one, but the dog one made the rounds.”
“What they did earlier this week was them simply returning to form. There are definite crime concerns, and if someone is attacking postal carriers, yes, that is serious and should be dealt with seriously. They definitely should not have released the guy if he keeps doing this. But at the same time, they always pull this when things don’t go their way or if they think any kind of danger is there.”
As of Wednesday, more details about the assailant who was in custody have yet to be released.
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