“The mail is no longer a sure thing anymore,” said Rainer Wendt, the head of Germany’s DPolG police union.
Offiicials are struggling to get the issue under control – there were at least 700 stolen packages in Berlin in just the year’s first quarter, police said.
National statistics are not publicly released, making the problem even tougher to get a grasp on, although Wendt said there had been 3,240 incidents last year and likely a number of unreported cases.
Deutsche Post, which has been a private company for more than a decade, refused to release theft statistics, saying no postal service would do so willingly.
It’s not clear why the problem seems to be increasing now.
But the German Association for Post, Information Technology and Telecommunications (DVPT), which represents the interests of postal workers, blamed outsourcing.
“Previously the mail service had its own personnel in operation,” said Serkan Antmen, from the DVPT, who said contractors now perform many tasks.
Wendt suggested that poor security practices are to blame. He pointed to insecure corner shops where letters often just sit out in the open.
“My impression is there’s not high demand placed on security,” he said.
Whatever the reasons, it is often intensely frustrating to have packages go missing as Lothar Schäfer from the town of Bad Wildungen in Hesse discovered.
He says three of his shipments have been lost, forcing him to deal with Deutsche Post’s insurance representatives. After lots of haggling, he was compensated for two of the packages.