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Report: 57 Percent of Letter Threats in 2021 Contained White-Powder Substances or Illegal Drugs

Fifty-nine percent of suspicious mail threats triggered an emergency response including the police, FBI USPIS, Hazmat.

RaySecur released the 2021 Annual Mail Threat Report. This unique report provides a comprehensive view and analysis of mail threats by aggregating official U.S. Government data and cataloging incidents reported in the mass media over the past year to better highlight the prevalence and dangers of mail threats. The 2021 report data reflects the ongoing global discord and conflicts that have resulted from COVID lockdowns, vaccination mandates, and other societal stressors.

Mail security is often overlooked, even though in 2021 the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) analyzed 263,000 pieces of suspicious mail and investigated more than 6,300 mail threat incidents. This is because security executives often lack access to complete mail threat data to help them understand the probability and impact of potential threats, which limits or negates the implementation of security strategies to mitigate these risks.

In addition to the data, events and case studies highlighted in the report cover legitimate powder threats that evaded government security screening. These include ones received by White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci as well as other high profile government officials, a spate of letter bombs targeting businesses in Germany, and insiders sending increasingly harmful powder threats to co-workers and employers. The costs to affected organizations can run into the millions of dollars in facility decontamination and shutdowns from threats that are real or hoaxes.

“The lack of comprehensive data is one of the key reasons mail threats remain one of the largest gaps in physical security,” said Alex Sappok, Ph.D., CEO, RaySecur. “Our report is the only resource to compile government data and mass media reporting in one place so that security leaders can proactively plan and implement measures to address these vulnerabilities. It’s core to our mission of keeping our customers safe.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • 59% of suspicious mail threats triggered an emergency response including the police, FBI USPIS, Hazmat, and others, as well as causing disruption and/or harm to the recipient.
  • 89% of responded to mail threats were delivered via letters or small parcels, mailed via curbside dropbox and therefore without chain of custody tracking.
  • 57% of the letter threats contained white-powder substances or illegal drugs.
  • The top 5 most targeted states in the U.S. were New York (10%), Texas (9%), Pennsylvania (7%), Georgia (7%), Alabama (7%).
  • 64% of international mail threats occurred in Western Europe or Asia.

A webinar to discuss the findings will take place on February 24nd at 1 pm ET. To register, visit raysecur.com/webinar. The 2021 Annual Mail Threat Report is available for download here.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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