In what is reported as a first for the U.S. Postal Service, residents of high crime areas are being warned that their mail service may be stopped temporarily. These notices have been sent out for the last 18 months in Milwaukee, a city known by some for its high violent crime rates.

The notices say in part: "If crime goes unchecked, we may have to stop delivering mail to your address until the immediate danger is resolved." In that case, residents would have to pick up their mail at the post office.

Since these notices started, mail service has been stopped twice. In one area, a mail carrier was shot with a BB gun, and in the other, a mail carrier was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle.

The Postal Inspector says this mail stoppage is only done as a "last resort," but it sounds serious when they report that the notices have been going out at a rate of one to two per month for the last 18 months.

Word to the wise: Look out for your mail carrier. Those working in high-crime areas are often not there by choice, and those who want to keep receiving their mail will be well-served by helping to keep the postal carriers safe.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.

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