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EDITORIAL – Post office still has work to do on theft-proofing community boxes

Damage to community mailbox this week. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IF YOU THOUGHT your mail was safe in the new community mailboxes, don’t be so sure.

Living in a rural area, I pick up my mail from one of those boxes, and the anti-theft design of the newer ones is clearly much better than the old ones, but it’s not failsafe.

Arriving at our community mailbox this week, I discovered that thieves had broken into the outgoing letter slot to get at any mail that was in there. By the looks of the damage, they probably used a combination of power tools — such as a grinder — and good old-fashioned pry bars for their dirty work.

Several private mail compartments were wrecked in the process.

They also did some serious damage to a small-package slot in one of the other mailbox groups but apparently didn’t gain entry, perhaps scared off by passing vehicles as they were trying to break in.

Of course, I reported it immediately to Canada Post, which assured me repairs would be made within a week. In the meantime, I won’t be getting any mail because my compartment was one of the ones damaged.

Police have told me in the past that it’s not uncommon for low-lifes to be hired by contractors from the Coast to hit certain areas from time to time in search of mail that can be used to glean personal information for identity theft.

The local Canada Post depot reacted promptly but the media relations department ignored a bunch of my questions, refusing to provide specifics on what it’s doing about the problem.

And it’s clearly a problem that hasn’t gone away. A week is a long time to wait for repairs to be made, and designing newer, safer community mailboxes has to be an ongoing priority, because the thieves will keep figuring out new ways to break into them.

City dwellers who still get their mail on their doorsteps should be thankful, and hope the idea of converting all mail delivery to community boxes never again raises its ugly head.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6244 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Post office still has work to do on theft-proofing community boxes

  1. there are a few preventive measures that could be tried.I have said before that all mail could be delivered door to door by the fairly simple expedient of urban ,streetside mail boxes.The delivery person would not have to leave the vehicle to deliver mail by catch pole or some sort of extension hand. They would be lockable and of strong construction.
    Another possibility and only to catch destroyers and thieves would be remote trail cams .hidden in local infrastructure. These could be coupled with loud alarms to deter and automatically call 911.
    This would not stop theft but I believe it would be affordable and would cut the damage down.
    There would be nothing wrong with trying a pilot project.
    I believe that Chicago does something similar.

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