Dave Moffatt

Residents frustrated by lack of mailbox security

Residents of a quiet South Surrey neighbourhood are frustrated by repeated break-ins to two super-mailboxes that serve their subdivision.

Residents of a quiet South Surrey neighbourhood are frustrated by repeated break-ins to two super-mailboxes that serve their subdivision.

But the issue isn’t confined to the loss, damage or violation of privacy that each incident brings. It’s compounded by word from Canada Post that there’s little more that can be done to prevent the incidents from recurring.

“I expressed that we were under the impression there’s a stronger box available, but he told me no,” said Sandi Moffatt, of a recent conversation she had with a Canada Post employee. “I said, ‘our mail is totally unsafe in these boxes,’ and he said, ‘we’re not responsible for crime.’”

Canada Post spokesman John Caines told Peace Arch News the corporation takes every step possible to ensure secure mail delivery, but if a thief is determined, little will stop them.

“Nothing is impregnable, unfortunately – your car, your house and mailbox,” Caines said. “If people want to get in there, they can.”

Moffatt and her husband, Dave, have lived in the 93-home Country Woods subdivision for 11 years. The most recent mailbox break-in occurred early September, when someone used a pry bar to wrench off one side of a superbox in the 2700-block of Country Woods Drive, exposing mail belonging to residents of 15 nearby homes.

A similar break-in to a box on 29 Avenue, east of Country Woods Drive, occurred the week before, Moffatt said.

It’s a scenario that has played out numerous times over the years. Once, police called the Moffatts to let them know some of their mail had been recovered in Abbotsford.

“They keep coming back,” Moffatt said, of thieves.

Solutions suggested by members of the Country Woods Residents’ Association have included switching to door-to-door delivery; using mailboxes without a common door, to reduce the impact of each hit; and installing a more secure mailbox.

But while response to fix the damage has been fairly quick, residents have had less luck when it comes to steps that will reduce their odds of being targeted.

Caines said Canada Post has taken “great steps” to secure the boxes, particularly in B.C., which has been identified as a high-risk area. High-security locks and pry bars have been installed within the past year, he said, and further measures will be implemented if and when they become available, he said.

Caines said the best defence against mail theft is to ensure mail is picked up as soon after delivery as possible. Anyone noticing anything suspicious should report it immediately, he added.

Canada Post may be notified by calling 1-800-267-1177.

 

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