Roadside Mailboxes Are Not Securegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
This is a follow-up to an earlier post which advised not to leave outgoing mail in your roadside mailbox.
I sold an item through eBay to someone in Washington State. When payment wasn't received I followed up and he said he had sent a MO. After two weeks he checked with his post office and found the MO had been cashed in another part of the state. Apparently it was taken from his roadside mailbox.
I understand this is becoming an increasing problem with people just riding around looking for flags which are up. They take all outgoing mail and look for anything they can turn into cash. The rest is discarded, which means your bills may not have been paid.
Unless you can get to a secure drop-off box on a regular basis, perhaps you can ask your carrier to check your box every day even if the flag isn't up.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), December 05, 2000
I can't put any outgoing in mine and I worry about the incomming also. Our mailboxes out here aren't safe. They are always getting bashed. I had a neat little red barn mailbox, once upon a time. Did you know that plastic mailboxes fly much further than the metal ones? A few years ago they caught some "kids" red-handed, turned out they were all in their 20's. And they put all their names in the paper. I wonder how they managed to cash your money order? That's just rude.
-- Cindy in Ky (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
Guess it was a good thing our mail box was vandalized. Some of the towns "finest" went mail box smashing, so we now have a post office box(there's only so much room and they ruined it). A little more inconvenient but obviously a whole lot safer.
-- Cindy (email@example.com), December 05, 2000.
We lived in rural Tennessee and had problems with keeping mailboxes. I bought a metal oversized mailbox and a regular sized mailbox. I put the little box centered inside of the big box and filled the space between them with concrete.Then remounted the mailbox inside the mailbox on a sturdy pole. If anyone ever hit that box I am sure their arm rang from the reverburation. It never showed anymore dents and we never had to replace the box again.
-- Renee' Madden (RM6PACK@aol.com), December 05, 2000.
This reminds me of when I was driving through some rural isolated areas of Colorado and Wyoming at one time. It seems people are dependent on mail order and their mail boxes consist of large steel drums with a door cut in the side and then hinged. They are secured with padlocks and the mail man has the key. I often wondered how long it took for a delivery man to make his rounds in those places. Not only was the route very isolated and ranches far apart, but the delivery into the "mail box" must have been have taken longer than a normal one.
-- R. (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
We skipped relying on mailbox from day one here and got a PO BOX.We knew the reputation of two neighbors PDQ and considered it an open invitation for trouble from them if I got my important mail here.I do get magazines at that delivery tho.Everything I can I get shipped UPS,so you may want to consider shipping that way if feasible.My friendly UPS guy knows the name and drives it right up to the house,even opening gates.Nice fella.
The rest goes to PO BOX,at least if I"m the one to give the address.Hubbie is alot more careless about that.
We just got an unexpected check in the mailbox for him,no explanation.Merry christmas,huh? Course,Now I'm left wondering if there were any others that we didn't get,so he needs to make a call and check up on it.Don't know why he doesn't listen!
I also get direct deposit and direct deduct on as many things as I can.Makes it easier on me and I've not had any problems in more than 10 yrs of doing this.
Another way I heard abt on a pbs program was a common hardware fluid being used to wash the ink off of checks that were stolen out of mailboxes,making them able to be written in for any ammt to any one.I thought, oh boy,great.You just told my neighbors about another way for them to steal.Course then I remembered they aren't the type to watch PBS.Ha or more appropriately for the season,hohoho.
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), December 05, 2000.
The post office told us not to use our RD box because of the bashing and theft. when we moved to our present location we got a PO box, the PO is 3 miles away, we also use the roadside box for incoming, the post office for outgoing, no smashing here. Last year some peole came down I-5 and broke open every PO drop box for 70 miles, right at the post offices but they left the one alone in our little wide spot of a town because there is an all night gas station across the road with plenty of light.
-- Hendo (OR) (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
There is a type of mail box made and sold that locks, but that the mail man can easily put mail into, but not get it out, rather like the outgoing drop boxes at the post office, but on a smaller scale. After looking at one, you could make one yourself if you are handy at welding. They are stout enough that it would take way more than a baseball bat to bust up, dynamite maybe! Post office boxes are just too far away from the boonsticks where we live to work for us. Annie in SE OH.
-- Annie Miller (email@example.com), December 05, 2000.
Our problem is the snowplows that knock our box down every winter. Any ideas?? (Besides a PO box, but we may end up doing that anyway)
-- Jean (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
You should see the state of the mailboxes around here come spring when the plowtrucks are done with them! They're all tied together with bailing twine and such. The smart ones have a metal post several feet in from the road with a long arm out to the road. Their boxes are hung by chain so if hit, they just swing. The box inside a box with cement between was neat, but we were warned not to use cement even for our posts because anyone hitting it by accident would be more hurt. I'm impressed with carriers that would agree to locks and such; ours had us cut our post down so he didn't have to lean out of his car and measured to make sure our box was exactly the right distance from the road. He's a nice guy and all, but takes his job very seriously!
-- Epona (email@example.com), December 05, 2000.
Smashing mailboxes must be a national pastime or rite of passage for young men in our country! I once surveyed the guys I worked with at my old job asking them if they had ever smashed a mailbox, and 3 out of 4 admitted to at least one smashing spree. (These were all advanced degree professional types, hardworking, dedicated husbands and fathers too). My own husband took out a few West Texas boxes in the early 60's, and he happens to be a really nice guy. Growing up I remember my folks having to replace our mailbox after it mysteriously disappeared and was later found in the local duck pond. My theory is that the American mailbox serves a very important role in our society as an outlet for male youth aggression that may otherwise be focused on a human being. The need for (most) young men to smash things appears to be a fact of life. I will gladly give one mailbox per lifetime for a young man to vent his hostility towards, especially if he turns out as decent as the male adults I know with mailbox smashing histories.
-- Barb (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
Annie my little post office is 7 miles away but I just don't go there to my box but once or twice a week,unless I'm expecting a seed or plant trade, that is! Now that's IMPORTANT mail.Worth an extra trip if needed.(Slathering Gardening Nut)
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), December 05, 2000.
A friend of mine had a problem with kids running over his mail box with their monster truck. After the 4th mailbox, took some 4" square steel tubing, and sunk it 2 feet down and cemented it in good. Then they boxed it out 1x6 pine and set the mail box on top. Got woke up late one night and found a badly damaged 4x4 and a bunch of teenage kids crying about what daddy was going to do when he saw the truck...
I also see a lot of people that opt for using cinder block and brick to build a home for their mail box.
Knock on wood, I have yet to lose my mailbox to vandals. My only objection to PO Boxes is that most Post Office lobbies close and you can't get you mail after hours.
-- Eric in TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
When we moved into our present home we replaced mailboxes literally by the dozen. Finally DH said he had other things to do on Saturday so he made one out of steel (weighted a ton), welded it to a steel plate, welded that to a steel pipe and set in 3' of concrete. Did this work? HA! We put it up one Sat and the next Sat I walked down for the paper only to find it all in the ditch (except the concrete). Laying beside it was a front bumper and license plate.
I came back to the house and called the sheriff who said there was not much they could do. Then I told him I had the license plate - he got soooo excited, said he had been waiting years for this. A deputy soon arrived and took the bumper and plate and found the owner. He "visited" with the owner (a neighbor), a 17 years old punk, and a woman who claimed to be his mother. This was 9 am on Sat morning, I knew the mother was not home from Friday night this early.
Sure enough, about 3 pm the real mother came over and brought us a mailbox (cheapest she could find) and said her son refused to put it up. She said there was nothing she could do. I told her she had more problems than we did if she could not make her 17 year old do what she said. She agreed and left.
On Monday we got a P O Box and have never looked back. We have access to it 24/7 and since DH works about 3 blocks from the P O it is no hassle.
Now it only UPS could find our house I would not have to have everything shipped to my parents and have to drive 25 miles one way to get what I ordered. Oh well, maybe in my next life everything will be perfect.
-- Viv in TX (email@example.com), December 05, 2000.
We have a PO Box in town. It's nice b/c I can sort the junk mail (oops, I mean bulk mail!) and toss it in the recycling before it ever gets home. We also have a box at our roadside, but mostly we just get solicitation stuff there too. We have a big stand for our newspaper boxes so putting a mailbox there wasn't tough. We live on a dead end on a dead end, so we don't have the mailbox baseball bashing problems we used to, although with great effort, they got us once (under a metal roofed structure, in between posts, no less.) I would never trust mailing anything important from anything other than the Post Office.
-- sheepish (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
This may not work for a road without children, but I have my Dairy Goat sign and 2 mail boxes up at the road, we live on the dead end of a dirt road. I have a reward standing for the name of any, usually child caught throwing rocks or smashing my sign or mailboxes. On our road their was at one time, 16 kids of all ages, the standing reward is 50$ and so far I haven't had to pay it, also don't have one rock ding in my sign either! Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh TX (email@example.com), December 05, 2000.
I don't want a po box in town. First, it's hard to park near the po. Second, I don't get into town that much. Third, I'm not about to make a special trip that far to get mail. Fourth, they are pretty expensive.
Hendo, you must be familiar with "Fort Knox Mailboxes" They are made nearby. They will install them free, since you are a "local".
I decided to make my own, after damn near losing my passport, with the second mail theft in eight days. It's 1/4" inch plate, has a "built in" lock, and is set on a four inch pipe, filled with concrete, and set a couple of feet into the ground in concrete. I'd set it deeper, but I don't want some dumb kid to get killed on the thing.
It cost about $90 for the materials, which means that it will pay for itself in short order, compared to the po box.
Hendo, if you want to install one yourself, Grants Pass Steel makes one out of 3/16 steel for $169 without the post. I'd have bought one from them (rather than making a dollar three ninety-six an hour making my own, but I've got the tools, and it was fun to do it myself. If you're ever driving down JOJ Creek Road, it's the green one with the black door, with raised steel 3/16" x 1/2" letters, surrounded by a "decorative" duck. (Name's Drake, ya know) G.P. Steel cut and drilled the pieces, and bent a piece of 1/4" plate into a U shape, to form the sides and top. They also bent a piece into an L for the door. If you want to take a look at it some time, let me know.
What really bugs me is that I called the PO folks when I got mail stolen (more than once, actually) They told me "Mr. Drake, we're not an INFORCEMENT agency". I said, "Well, great. But how come you left TWO messages on my answering machine last spring telling me I faced huge fines and jail time for placing announcements of nominations and elections for the Jumpoff Joe Citizens Advisory Committee (a govenment recognized citizens group which is designed to give neighbors an avenue to get involved in land use regulations) in all the mailboxes in the valley. The doo doo brain said, "Well, Mr. Drake, that is ILLEGAL!"
Sheepish, the "bulk" mail makes great mulch around new seedling conifers, if you need to plant any.
-- jumpoffjoe (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2000.
I commented to my son the other day, that it would be so easy for anyone to steal Christmas presents if they drove down the street. Almost every mailbox had shopping bags with boxes hanging from them. He only rings the bell for really big boxes. The back of the mail jeep was full of Amazon.com boxes. My UPS guy just puts it on the porch and leaves.
As for the bashing, I'm lucky that my box is on the circle of the culdesac so it is hard for them to get at. All the others up and down the street are smashed.
-- Dee (email@example.com), December 06, 2000.
Yeah, our mailguy used to just rubberband CD's and other small packages to the outside of the boxes around here, rather than trudge the trip up the driveway in his nice, climate controlled vehicle. Complained to the postmaster and that BS stopped real quick.
-- Soni (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 09, 2000.
Neat idea you have Renee about cementing one inside the other! Here in Maine we had a small problem with teanagers clubbing mailboxes using a bet. Got Dad's homemade barn box. No problem , Made another one. That winter plow truck hit it good. So now the bos is on a metal post stuck into a pail of cement. The truck has left it alone since. We don't have much vandalism here which is nice but the plow truck drivers for our town sure love hitting as many as they can. Between that and the neighbors running over them when they are trying out their sport toys we replaced quite a few. I still use the road side service as sometimes I can't get to town to get stamps and the postal delivery ledy willingly delivers. Also the local post office regularly looses in coming and out going mail. Not just ours either. So Idrive 7 miles to the nearest towns post office to make sure the packages get where they need to. Michelle
-- michelle (email@example.com), December 11, 2000.
Well my neighbors are pretty good at watching the mailboxes. However, we recently had several unknown cars riding through at mail time. I chased one down and asked whom they were looking for. (2 teens) answered none of my !@#$%^&* business. I said ok but that old man near the road is a WWII vet and if you make him really mad he just might let it rip with...... Well they have not returned for over 2 weeks now, mybe they'll stay away.
I've replaced 2 mailboxes, not from bashing but from snowscrape.
-- Kenneth in N.C. (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 11, 2000.
Road side mailboxes ARE secure. Don't believe me, go check out this site... www.fortknoxmailbox.com Might be a little spendy at first, but it pay's for itself quickly. No more worries!!!!
-- Mike C. (email@example.com), October 09, 2001.
The post office legally enforces certain laws. Bashing a mailbox comes under common vandalism and is therefore handled by local authorities. Stealing your mail out of your box is another matter. The post office can enforce those laws, working through local law enforcement, but they can't watch every mailbox in the country. Some people set up videocameras to catch the brats.
Putting stuff in other people's mailboxes is illegal because
1) if you didn't put a stamp on it, it is revenue deprivation for the post office (a similar situation occurs when the trash people catch "recycle rustlers" who steal aluminum cans out of the recycle bins which is stealing from the trash company.
2) more importantly, it is interfering with what is known as "the sanctity of the mails" Do you want every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Joan putting stuff in your mailbox, perhaps seeing what you get and drawing conclusions (Oh, he's got mail from ***** he must be on some drug (when it could merely be a one-time ad), or be a porno freak, etc. etc.), or letting your good mail fall out in the street, or again, stealing it. A lot of the utility companies want the right to shove bills in your mailbox. NO THANKS.
3) It also isn't a good idea because, say somebody puts a flyer in one day (Avon people are really bad about this in some areas), and the person whose mailbox it's in also happens to be missing some important mail, like a check. Well, now that they have the flyer as "evidence" that SOMEONE other than the homeowner or postal employee was in the box, thoughtfully providing a phone number, an address or even a picture perhaps, law enforcement now has a suspect to go after in a possible mail theft. Nobody needs that kind of hassle. That's the reason the penalties are so severe, it's that serious.
I don't even put mail in an outside official postal drop box--too many cases of some idiot throwing a lighted match or cigarette in it, and our local office would even have problems with kids dumping their sodas in the ones right outside the office. I go in with my mail, and cluster my errands around that. Of course, you can pay a lot of your bills electronically or by phone now, so that cuts down on a lot of trips.
If you have 7/24 access to the post office, the boxes are worth the price. The prices vary by what part of the country you live in. What some of the offices are doing is to close the lobby (so that it cuts down after hours vandalism and vagrancy) but they put a punch combination doorlock on (like you often see in fastfood places) and only tell the boxholders (changing it every so often). This still allows 7/24 access by the boxholder.
I loved reading about the kids who ruined their Dad's 4x4!
-- GT (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 09, 2001.