Vandalism is a common problem on all properties, and when most people think of mailbox vandalism, they imagine curbside mailboxes struck by baseball bats or vehicles. However, it’s possible for commercial mailboxes to suffer from damage and vandalism as well.
Commercial mailboxes are those that contain more than one customer compartment inside a sturdy cabinet, usually made of aluminum. These mailboxes typically have locking compartments, and those that are USPS-approved usually have parcel lockers for holding packages. Commercial mailboxes are also used for private delivery in places such as college campuses and some offices.
Newer models are sturdier and more secure than older models, with the 4C line of mailboxes being the gold standard. These mailboxes have a cabinet and locks that are more resistant to tampering than newer models.
Since property owners purchase these mailboxes for security and convenience, avoiding vandalism and damage is a must to keep tenants happy.
Know that Mailbox Vandalism Is a Federal Crime
Many people don’t realize that mailbox vandalism of any sort, along with mail theft, is a federal crime. Pranksters may assume that damaging a mailbox is a minor offense.
If vandalism is an issue in your community or commercial property, it may help to post a notice that mailbox damage or theft is punishable by up to three years in prison or a hefty fine up to a quarter million dollars. This is because vandalism and damage can destroy important correspondence and other valuable mail.
Such an approach may work well to deter less serious vandals and mail thieves. Though a warning won’t prevent all acts, or those who are determined to break into commercial mailboxes to steal mail, it can reduce issues.
If mailboxes are damaged or broken into, the postal inspector will investigate.
Upgrade Your Mailboxes
Many commercial mailboxes are old and outdated, and this makes them more vulnerable to vandalism and damage from the elements. The old 4B style of mailboxes have less sturdy locks and construction than their newer 4C counterparts, and are more likely to suffer from damage. They are also more prone to weathering and degrading the look of your commercial property or community.
If 4B mailboxes are damaged, it is acceptable to replace them with the same mailbox type, in the same location, and still receive USPS delivery if you were before. However, it is recommended that you upgrade to the new 4C models if seeking USPS delivery, as these are more likely to stop vandalism in the long run.
Install Your Mailboxes in A Safe Location
Mailboxes that are very visible are less likely to suffer damage from vandals than those that are tucked away and out of sight much of the time. That’s why it’s a good idea to install your commercial mailbox system in a forward-facing or central location.
Mailboxes for USPS delivery must be always available to tenants, without obstructions such as vehicles, boxes, or locked doors. This means it may not be possible to eliminate all risk of vandalism and damage. However, installing mailboxes near a community office, near a well-lit and well-traveled street, or inside a lobby with security cameras will help greatly to cut down on this issue.
Avoid installing mailboxes near the backs of properties, in poorly lit areas, or far from regular foot and vehicle traffic. Such a mistake could not only cause vandalism, but injury and inconvenience for tenants as well.
Lighting doesn’t just keep tenants safe and prevent injury when checking their mail. Lighting also helps to deter vandals and thieves, especially if your mailboxes stand in a well-traveled, visible area.
Lighting can be easy to provide in areas such as clubhouses and office lobbies, and you may not need to do anything more than keep your lights on at night. This will help law enforcement monitor your commercial building or clubhouse during nighttime hours.
Outdoors, installing centralized mailboxes under streetlamps may help, and so will installing lights into any kiosks that house mailboxes. The good news is that if you choose the right placement for your system, then you may already have the correct lighting.
Move From Curbside to Centralized
Many businesses and smaller commercial properties use multi-unit curbside mailboxes to receive mail. If there aren’t too many packages being delivered, this approach can work well.
However, curbside mailboxes are the most prone to damage and vandalism, as they’re easy to reach from vehicles. Most of them do not lock, making mail theft and small package theft an issue. This can cause business tenants to lose money.
If this is a concern on your property, or your tenants are experiencing mail theft and missing packages, an upgrade to a small, centralized system may be in order.
4C mailboxes come in a variety of sizes, and the smallest have only a few customer compartments and perhaps one or two parcel lockers. They can mount outdoors, including near a roadway, so long as a slab of concrete is available. They can also mount indoors on walls or recess into vertical surfaces.
Though smaller, these mailboxes provide the same level of security as their larger counterparts.
If no space is available for a centralized system, then locking curbside mailboxes are available, and are good for small business use. These models are typically larger than regular mailboxes, with volume to hold small packages as well. Mail is delivered through a one-way slot, and the tenant may access mail via a lock at their convenience.
We’re Here to Help Prevent Vandalism
No matter how much mail theft and vandalism you experience, we’re here to help you keep mail safe, no matter which delivery type you choose. If the worst happens and you must carry out repairs, we also provide locks, doors, posts, and other mailbox parts for replacement and repair.
Contact us today with any questions you may have about repairs, mailbox placement, lighting, or upgrades.