Each day, the US Postal Service delivers 181.9 million pieces of mail. That’s 181.9 million opportunities for thieves to steal everything from birthday money to stimulus checks.
As social distancing has placed an unprecedented strain on the economy, mail theft has increased. The Bellevue Police department reported a, “141 percent increase in mail theft reports compared to April 2019.”
The spike in mail theft is typical, according to John Widand, a postal inspector in Seattle. Wiegand said, "Really anytime you have larger mailings going out, whether it’d be tax season, the holidays, sometimes we’ll see mail thieves taking advantage of those opportunities and going out."
Police departments throughout the Seattle area are encouraging residents to take protective measures. Kirkland Police recently tweeted:
With the anticipation of unemployment and #CARESAct checks going out, we have seen a noticeable increase in mail theft this past week. Even when you #StayHomeStayHealthy try to responsibly check your @USPS mailbox regularly! Call police to report suspicious activity. #COVID19
How to Stop Mail Theft
As Amazon central, package theft and mail theft in Seattle have long been an issue. Often a crime of opportunity, there are several steps you can take to avoid being a victim. These include:
1. Empty Your Mailbox Daily
It’s pretty hard to steal something that’s not there. By emptying your mailbox in a timely manner, you reduce the opportunity for a thief to even attempt to steal your mail.
2. Install a High-Security Mailbox
Traditional mailboxes are outfitted with a simple door that opens and closes. This means anyone can get into your mailbox. And some mailboxes don’t even have a door. They’re just a plastic bin in which mail is slid — making it very east for your mail to be stolen.
3. Mail Outgoing Mail from a USPS Mail Drop
In addition to mail you’re receiving, thieves will often take mail you’re sending. A good way to avoid this is by dropping your mail in a USPS mail drop box.
What is a High-Security Mailbox
As the name suggests, a high-security mailbox is constructed to prevent your mail from being stolen. The best high-security mailboxes feature:
- Thick walls
- Sturdy locks
- Welded seams
- Mail slot
Why is a High-Security Mailbox Important?
A sturdy and secure residential mailbox offers a variety of benefits including:
- Identity Protection - One of the scariest things about your mail getting stollen is identity theft. From ruining your credit score to causing you legal trouble, identity theft can have a lasting impact on your life, costing you thousands of dollars and hours.
- Protects Your Stuff - While identity theft is one of the biggest concerns, you don’t want things like checks or gifts stolen either.
- Peace of Mind
What is the Most Secure Mailbox Available?
How determined someone is to steal your mail can range from hooligans with baseball bats to thieves outfitted with crowbars, sledgehammers, and screwdrivers. A standard locking mailbox will certainly keep the lazier mail-napper from snagging your letters while strolling by.
Unfortunately, a simple lock can be extremely easy to break — especially if your mailbox doesn’t feature a sturdy construction model.
Google high-security mailboxes and you’ll find a variety of options. But here at NW Safe in Enumclaw, our go-to option is the Fort Knox brand. There are several key construction methods that set the Fort Knox brand apart, including:
- Welding. The seams of most mailboxes are joined with rivets or spot welds. Fort Knox mailboxes feature welded seams that run the entire length of the seam. This makes them exponentially more difficult to penetrate.
- Heavy Duty Steel. Traditional mailboxes use 14-20 guage steel. Fort Knox mailboxes use steel that’s 2 - 5 times thicker, meaning it can better withstand a brute-force attack.
- Weight. Security mailboxes normally weigh between 12 and 25 pounds. Most Fort Knox mailboxes weight 68-pounds or more. This makes them exponentially more difficult to simply tuck under your arm and walk away with.
- High-End Locks. Fort Knox mailboxes utilize a high-end 7-pin tubular tumbler lock that is considered ‘pick proof.’ Furthermore, you have the option of upgrading your locking mechanism to even more secure keyed options as needed.
It’s also important to note that all Fort Knox mailboxes feature a drop box system. This allows your mail carrier to drop your mail into your mailbox, while keeping prying hands at bay.