A recent incident of vandalism at the U.S. Postal Service in Chalan Kanoa has prompted the post office to close its lobby at night.
According to Duke Gonzales, the corporate communications specialist of the USPS in Honolulu Hawaii, the post office lobby now closes at 9pm daily.
“Customers can access the lobby of the Saipan post office from 6am to 9pm, 15 hours a day,” said Gonzales.
The USPS post office in Chalan Kanoa, which has been renamed the Segundo T. Sablan and CNMI Fallen Military Heroes Post Office, is one of the busiest postal service branches on Saipan.
A culprit who has yet to be identified vandalized the post office lobby in late September, prompting the post office to act on the issue quickly for the safety of those who use the post office in Chalan Kanoa. The USPS lobby used to be open 24 hours.
In an online interview, Gonzales told Saipan Tribune that the vandalism incident was “quite severe.”
“Postal property was damaged and destroyed in that incident. A local historical display was also severely damaged, “ said Gonzales.
In a visit to the post office yesterday, the office had been cleared of any signs of vandalism.
Saipan Tribune was able to speak with a homeless individual who requested to remain anonymous. According to the individual, he has been living in the abandoned building across the post office for many years, along with a few of his “roommates.”
He, along with his “roommates,” frequently loiter around the post office, asking for help from those who visit the facility.
Upon learning about the vandalism that resulted in the lobby’s new closing hours, he expressed sadness and regret that he did not notice the vandals. “I am really sorry [about that]. I only come here asking for help,” the man said.
According to Gonzales, they have had to respond to complaints about the loiterers, but that was not the reason behind the change of accessible lobby hours.
“We have previously had to respond to concerns about loiterers, but none of those concerns were as serious as the recent vandalism,” said Gonzales.
Fortunately, the new lobby hours are still subject to possible change. “We are actively assessing the impact of this change and considering our options. Adjustments to this change are always possible,” he said.
According to Gonzales, costumers of the post office, so far, have been considerate about the new change. “We want to thank our Saipan postal customers for their understanding and support of those efforts,” he said.
Gonzales also thanked the Department of Public Safety for its efforts.
“We want to thank the Department of Public Safety for their ongoing efforts to ensure that our Saipan post oOffice remains a safe and secure facility for our customers, employees and the mail,” said Gonzales.