Mail Theft and Vandalism
Do problems seem to be getting worse or is it media sensationalism
Having a history of selling mailboxes for well over 20 years we have noticed an increase in the amount of mailboxes we are either repairing or replacing specifically due to mail theft. We are also responding more to this problem with requests for better security and heavier duty mailboxes. As reported in the media, the primary concern is credit card theft as well as documentation that can lead to creating or changing identities, and this problem would appear to be on the rise. Take a moment to Google “Mail Theft Australia” and you will see the extent of the problem.
Our response to this comes on different levels and firstly in the interest of the owners of the asset, the mailbox, those that have to cough up the money to either repair or replace them. In the event of it being apartment mailboxes these letterboxes are often referred to as banks or clusters of mailboxes and due to the volume of them being packed together in one area they are the greatest target. A reasonable set of mailboxes can cost anywhere from $75.00 up to $200.00 per mailbox and this can be for a basic standard mailbox to a heavy duty 2mm stainless steel mailbox, so they can soon add up to be a costly investment. Due to them all having an aperture where the mail is inserted into them, then this is also an aperture where a Jimmy Bar (Pry Bar) can be used to leverage open the mailbox. This action we see is normally resorted to when the mailbox is not easily penetrable and we have seen perpetrators use anything from star pickets to surveyor pegs. Our first response therefore could be to not make the mailboxes to hard to break into as if they are determined they will destroy them. However saying that there is a balance required, many break ins are opportunistic and if they find the mailbox to difficult too break in they may well just move on. You can try and mitigate the problem by implementing the following steps.
Firstly, many commercial mailbox systems out there have common lock series and their master keys have become prevalent in the marketplace and with many being readily available off the shelf from most locksmiths. Read this story on ABC news which testifies to this problem (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-23/mail-thieves-selling-information-to-international-criminals/8048982). At Mailmaster we have our own lock system and we strictly control the supply of our Master Keys. These are only available for purchase direct from us and then only based on a suitable letter of authority or evidence of entitlement being supplied.
Secondly, have you considered the area that the mailboxes have been or are being installed? In the back corner of a dimly lit alley may be an area of concern and if this is the case take remedial steps to mitigate a potential problem. If possible relocate the mailboxes to a Foyer and if necessary have a Bulk Mail Bin for Australia Post to deliver to and then redistribute the mail, or locate the mailboxes in a better lit or more exposed area or even consider placing them in a purpose built secure enclosure.
Thirdly, we have also found a significant deterrent is to install a video surveillance system and well promote this with lots of prominent signage.
Yes we have custom built “bomb proof” mailboxes from fully welded 10mm steel plate and complete with heavy duty hinges and deadlocks however we have not found the market demand to add this to our standard product range. We do promote and sell mailbox systems which are significantly more robust than the standard commercial mailbox series out there. See the Mailmaster Premium and Mailmaster Deluxe mailbox series.
Prior to 1992 (year fireworks were banned in Queensland) I am sure many of us as kids may have blown the tops off a few mailboxes with those Double Bungers. Nowadays the sport of destroying mailboxes is not as prevalent as it was around Guy Fawkes time but it does still happen. What can we say, it’s great for business.