Theft from mailboxes is occasionally an issue for those neighbors who have curbside mailboxes. After contacting the USPS to report it by through this link or calling 1-877-876-2455 (press 5), here are two ways to protect yourself from mail theft.
The first option is the easiest but the most expensive to those of you with curbside mailboxes. You can purchase mailboxes that have a slot accessible to the postal carrier to deliver the mail, but which are lockable by you; and you alone will have the key. You may want to check at Home Depot or Lowe's, but the Post Office wasn't sure where to purchase these boxes.
The second option is to request cluster mailboxes for you and your neighbors who currently have curbside boxes. The post office will install and maintain these mailboxes, but you will need a signed petition from all the neighbors who would be affected. I suggest you have a block meeting at the library to discuss this (or at someone's home, if you feel comfortable with that). A meeting is the best way to get all the neighbors to talk about how to prevent mail theft/tampering in the future. Here is what you would need to do to get the ball rolling on a request for cluster mailboxes:
- Write a letter addressed to the Postmaster for Austin (get the address by calling the Bluebonnet Station)
- Include with the letter a petition signed by all the neighbors affected, noting their names and addresses
- Offer possible locations for the cluster boxes where neighbors have approved their installation
That last item is the one the postal employee I spoke with thought might be the most difficult because someone would “have to offer up their bit of property to install the cluster box.” I told him that the boxes are very unobtrusive when installed in the right place. If you want to take a look at a good example of a well-placed cluster mailbox, come see the one on Antoinette Place just off Cabana. (It's on the left, 3 houses down after you turn from Cabana.)
That cluster mailbox holds boxes for 12 houses and includes 2 large-parcel delivery boxes (where they put a key in your mailbox if you have an oversized package). The box itself sits at the property line between 2 houses in the space between the road and the sidewalk. It is dead center of the 12 houses served; there are six houses on one side of it and six on the other (3 on each side of the street) so that no one has to walk far at all to grab their mail.
Learn more tips on preventing crime to your home, car and neighborhood. Click here.