The U.S. Postal Service has one of the largest federal property portfolios in government. And with good reason. Its facilities support the delivery of mail to over 157 million delivery points.

One of USPS’s major responsibilities is to ensure these facilities are as safe as they can be, to protect the mail, the employees who work there, and the customers who visit every day. To meet these goals, the Postal Service relies on its managers and the Postal Inspection Service.

The Inspection Service is one of two law enforcement agencies within the Postal Service and it focuses on external crimes, mail frauds, and security issues involving postal employees and facilities. As part of this last responsibility, the Inspection Service oversees facility security and provides security training and guidance to Postal Service security employees. Among the facilities covered are Network Distribution Centers (NDCs), highly automated mail processing plants that distribute Standard Mail and provide Package Services.

Our recent audit report assessed security at 11 of the 21 NDCs. We found the Postal Service and the Postal Inspection Service security officials did not always address, in a timely manner, security deficiencies identified during assessments using the Vulnerability Risk Assessment Tool (VRAT) — an application employees use to identify security risks and vulnerabilities at facilities. Deficiencies included obstructed, damaged, or inoperable gates, fences, doors, locks, and closed circuit television systems.

We recommended management establish standard operating procedures — with timeframes — to address, monitor, and communicate identified security deficiencies. We also recommended the Postal Service establish an oversight mechanism to promote accountability and ensure compliance with VRAT requirements.

Are there other ways to improve security at postal facilities?

Comments (8)

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  • anon

    Security can be improved in the dock area to prevent unauthorized people from entering the facility

    Nov 02, 2018
  • anon

    MISMANAGEMENT and the abuse of friends. I notice that even with gates, security cameras, and all the rules that apply to every post office, management allows for some or certain people to get away with breaking the rules. I have been to different postal facilities and all of the facilities focus on the same safety and security rules, but not all managers/supervisors and so forth are on the same page or have different ideas of what part of the rules apply to them. Everyone should be on the same page. At my office clerks allow customers to go in the office and get equipment, sort mail, and look for packages they forgot to put postage on.

    Mar 07, 2018
  • anon

    our expediters keep the dock doors open whether they are on the dock or not.dont know if they are hot or cold or just looking outside,management wont make them keep doors closed

    Feb 28, 2018
  • anon

    The Post Office should be charged for breaking the law. It is against the law to change Postal listings. The Birmingham Post Office has violated Federal Law by changing the names of cities located in Jefferson County Alabama. to Birmingham, Alabama. It is against Federal Law to receive mail in Birmingham, if you live in a different city!!! Through these illegal morons in jail where they belong!!!

    Jan 19, 2018
  • anon

    The report lists HSC, PSS, the Installation Head, and the SCO-Security Control Officer as "Security Personnel" in Table 1 of the findings. While it is true the ASM identifies SCO in section 271.3, it may have been a stretch to include SCO in this report without mentioning one key point. All but the SCO in Table 1 are paid, accountable postal service positions. The SCO is not. This is an ad hoc role that while listed in the ASM, may need further review by either the OIG, USPIS, or both to determine any recommendation as a full-time paid position in select facilities such as an NDC or other critical postal infrastructure. If the safety and security of employees and the mail is a priority, and security gaps such as these have extended far to long, the continuation of SCO as a program rather than accountable individuals may need re-examination. I have no vested interested either way, however, I hope it will not take a tragedy to see there is no one dedicated full-time "on the ground" at these facilities with the experience, education, and training to address these issues.

    Jan 17, 2018
  • anon

    At my postal facility, mail is often left on the counter where it can be easily stolen or tampered with. It seems that security is not a priority for my postal employees.

    Jan 16, 2018
  • anon

    Thank you for your comment. The OIG is an independent agency of the Postal Service and many of these issues fall outside of our jurisdiction. However, we do read all blog comments and pass on relevant information to our auditors and investigators. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office about this issue. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, 1 (800) 275-8777, or to file an online complaint with Customer Service (and for frequently asked questions), go to the USPS Website and enter "Customer Service Help" in the search function.

    Jan 17, 2018
  • anon

    You guys cant recommend to the PS, IS does that already and the PS does not listen, they state they do not have the money to fix it ... go to Congress and recommend they make the PS follow up on VRATs .... not to forget OSHA would have a field day at these facilities .... another hinderence is the contractors, a fence motor breaks and they charge the PS $10k, search it online it's about $2k, happens all the time, just look at the aging camera system.

    Jan 16, 2018

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