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Community News: Southeast

WALNUT PARK : Mail Theft Solutions Offered

July 31, 1994|SIMON ROMERO

Arming postal carriers with high-tech warning systems, building corrugated steel storage boxes and instituting a Neighborhood Watch program were a few suggestions put forth by residents concerned with this year's increase in mail thefts and robberies of mail carriers.

More than 200 residents crowded into Walnut Park Elementary School at last week's Community Assn. meeting to discuss the problem.

On hand were authorities from the Postal Service, the Social Security Administration, the Sheriff's Department, and the offices of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblywoman Martha M. Escutia (D-Huntington Park). Although the idea of equipping carriers with cellular phones to put them in immediate contact with law enforcement piqued the audience's curiosity, the most common suggested was the idea of direct deposit.

"We're sick of this problem just like you're sick of it," said Pamela Prince, the media liaison for the Postal Service. "But if you get direct deposit, like I have, that means the thieves have no access to your checks."

Though lauded by authorities as a way to thwart mail thefts, at least one resident saw a flaw with this solution: "How can we get direct deposit when banks require a minimal balance to begin with. A lot of us can't even afford that since we live check to check."

A field representative for Roybal-Allard said the congresswoman's office is in the process of asking area banks to waive the minimum-balance requirement.

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