What you can do about mailbox theft

Thieves have increased their attack on multi-unit dwelling mailboxes in recent years. These smash and grab criminals are going after such items as checks, credit card numbers, and other useful items. They want to cause you pain for their gain.

Multi-unit dwelling mailboxes, or cluster box units (CBU), are a one-stop shopping center for criminals who want access to a great deal of potentially useful items in one location. These thieves will either rip open the backs of units, giving them access to all boxes simultaneously, or attack the front of each box if they’re unable to open the back. While you might not be able to prevent a criminal’s attack on your box, you can take steps to limit their access to your items.

  • Never leave mail in the outgoing slot in CBUs. Criminals are particularly interested in any mailed payments as they typically contain a check the criminal can modify with alternative amounts and payees. Take any outgoing mail directly into the nearest Post Office to safeguard your items.
  • Always retrieve mail as soon as possible after the carrier deposits it. This limits the window of opportunity in which a criminal can access your items.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious individuals. If anyone who isn’t an employee of the U.S. Postal Service attempts to access multiple boxes in a CBU using forceful means, that individual is probably committing a crime. Call the police and relay that person’s description to the authorities. Do not approach the individual as he or she may be armed.

By taking these few simple precautions and reporting suspicious activity, you can prevent a criminal from gaining access to your mail and help put them where they belong – behind bars.


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