Mailbox Vandalism And What To Do About It

By: Gregg Hall

I donít know how it is where you live but chances are if you live in an urban or suburban area you have had to deal with mailbox vandalism of some type. People who live in rural areas suffer even more damage in many cases because the mailbox is usually located a good distance from the home and there arenít many neighbors around to keep a watchful eye.

I guess even the fact that tampering with or damaging a mailbox is a federal crime doesnít stop some people from destroying them. I have a neighbor who lives on the corner of a main road in our subdivision whose mailbox has been destroyed several times in as many months!

So what can you do to protect against mailbox vandalism? Well, you could sit on your front porch with a shotgun. No, not very realistic is it? You could mount a surveillance camera on your property so you could at least identify the culprits. Prices on surveillance systems have come down quite a bit these days.

Another thing that I have seen that works very well is to invest in a better mailbox. It is the cheap galvanized or aluminum mailboxes that I have seen targeted by vandals. Why? Because they are easier to destroy. Most of these vandals are teenagers out joyriding and looking for something destructive to do. They ride down the rode with the passenger hanging out the window with a baseball bat and when they come up on a weak looking mailbox they give it a good whack. You wonít see them hitting a brick mailbox with a bat, nor will you see them take a shot at a sturdy, solid steel mailbox.

If you own your home it just makes sense to invest in a better mailbox to ward off would be vandals and to protect your mail. There are even new high tech mailboxes that allow the postal carrier to drop your mail in a slot but the mail can only be retrieved via an electronic keypad. This helps prevent another kind of vandalism as well as identity theft.

The following suggestions come from the United States Postal Service:

Immediately report theft, tampering with, or destruction of mail and mailboxes to your local postmaster. You will be asked to complete PS Form 1510, Mail Loss and Rifling Report, or PS Form 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint. These forms help the Postal Inspection Service determine whether your problem is isolated or one frequently experienced in your neighborhood.

Remove your mail from your mailbox as soon as possible after its delivery. Allowing mail to pile up for several days only tempts would-be vandals and thieves. If it is impossible for you to pick up your mail right after delivery, and you have been experiencing problems with mailbox vandalism or mail theft, consider renting a post office box, which will provide a secure method of delivery. You may find your peace of mind is worth the small rental fee.

Obtain Label 33 from the Postal Inspection Service. This sticker, which warns that willful damage to mail boxes and theft of mail is a crime, can be affixed to your mailbox.

If you discover someone tampering with your or your neighbor's mailbox, obtain that person's description and that of his vehicle, including the license plate number. Immediately report the information to your local police and postmaster.

Keep your mailbox in good repair by using proper installation methods. This may help prevent theft of the mailbox itself.

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Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. For a great selection on quality mailboxes go to

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