A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
When you picture a thief, you probably imagine someone breaking down your door, grabbing your laptop, jewelry, and whatever other valuables you have, and running off into the night. Maybe even speeding away in a van.
You are probably well prepared for this standard conception of burglary. You use whatever home security measures you can get your hands on to stop thieves in their tracks. But there’s another type of theft you are likely neglecting.
People often don’t think about mail theft when assessing home security, but mail theft can potentially be devastating. If a malicious person gets their hands on a bank statement, they could steal significant amounts of money.
Mailbox theft is a federal crime for a reason, and you should do what you can to not become a victim. You should always try to make your mailbox as secure as possible with your budget.
Fortunately, there are many different ways to upgrade your mailbox security. The exact methods you can use depend on your mailbox type and what’s realistic for you.
Here’s an overview of ways to give yourself an anti-theft mailbox:
With mail slots, your mail is already safe behind your locked front door. But mail slots have their own security problems that, much like the letters you send, must be addressed. Even if you don’t have an anti-theft mailbox, you can still have an anti-theft mail slot.
In general, you’ll want a smaller mail slot positioned a good distance from your doorknob. These make it tricky for people to reach in or insert wires that they can use to unlock the door from the other side. Get an anti-fishing flap for your mail slot, or repurpose an air vent diverter.
You might even be able to find a mail slot with anti-theft teeth to make reaching inside uncomfortable. Additionally, you can set up cameras around your porch. Get a doorbell camera if you want. You might even want to install motion sensors and alarms for extra security.
Since there’s not enough space to put packages in mail slots, it is best to have packages delivered when you’re home. Sign up for informed delivery. Get packages delivered to friends’ houses when you’re not home. You might even be able to have a package delivered to your workplace during work hours.
Try to go for an inconspicuous mail slot. One that’s not too hard for the postal workers to find but might be hard for a burglar to see in the night. That way, they won’t think to use it to unlock your door.
On the subject of the door itself, move your deadbolt (or get a second deadbolt) away from the mail slot. That way, the door is more reinforced and harder to kick down.
Wall-mounted mailboxes provide more security than simple mail slots, but there are still ways to make them even more anti-theft. Like mail slots, think about installing surrounding security systems and protecting slots.
Know where your packages are and be there when they arrive. The box should also have good environmental resistance. And placement should always aspire to be “inconspicuous.” Wherever you put your outgoing mail, it should be subtle. Don’t use obvious mail flags.
Hidden locking compartments can help conceal packages. You’ll want the lock to be hard to find as well. But make sure it’s not too hard for the postal worker to figure out, as they may give up and put your package in a conspicuous place.
Get an anti-theft mailbox with wafer locks, as this is a secure lock style. You’ll want locks with many wafers, meaning they take longer to pick. The anti-theft mailbox locks should ideally be ANSI grade 1, meaning they’re hard to break.
Your latches should have anti-pry, anti-drill, and anti-pick features, as it’s hard to open these mailboxes without a key. Steel is the best material for an anti-theft mailbox. Get 12 gauge galvanized steel for maximum security. Try to go for something waterproof as well.
You’ll need a baffle on your anti-theft mailbox. These prevent hands from being able to reach inside. Ideally, you want something that packages can fit into securely. Get a large locking compartment.
You might want to invest in something electronic, like an anti-theft mailbox alarm that goes off when someone breaks into it. There are a few more security considerations if your wall-mounted anti-theft mailbox is for business security.
Hire personnel security and carefully control access to your mail. Don’t allow personal mail to go through. Always pay in advance. Compare outgoing mail to what you know about what your business is sending and receiving.
Free-standing mailboxes follow many of the same rules as mail slots and wall-mounted mailboxes, with a few more things to consider.
Get an anti-theft mailbox with high environmental resistance. This is especially important since this one won’t be protected by a porch. Stainless steel works, although aluminum is better for environmental protection. Aluminum is easier to break, however.
It’s hard not to have an eye-catching free-standing mailbox, but try to get one that doesn’t look enticing to thieves. Don’t use a mailbox flag. Have a discrete outgoing mail clip. Find one with hidden locking compartments as well.
Make sure the mail slot or drop door has all the usual protections. It shouldn’t be easy to reach through or fish with fingers or a hook.
If you can’t pick up a package right away, make sure there’s enough space for it to fit inside.
Get an anti-theft mailbox with a wafer lock. Your locks and latches should be durable. Have anti-pry latches, anti-pick locks with many discs, and anti-drill capabilities.
Install anti-theft mailbox alarms for when the mailbox opens unexpectedly.
Finally, when it comes to free-standing mailboxes, you always need a solid post. If the mailbox can get removed or the pole can be damaged, a thief or vandal might drive away carrying it and later learn to unlock a lock without a key.
You can set up cameras or anti-theft mailbox alarms around your mailbox. Try to avoid using your mailbox flag when sending things.
Doorbell cameras and the like are pretty good for catching someone on camera. If you suspect someone is consistently stealing your mail, you can also put a GPS in a package, such as a cheap phone, and track where it goes.
Anti-theft mailboxes have durable, anti-pry latches and wafer locks with drill and pick resistance. They have mail slots that hands don’t fit in and large bodies so they can always fit packages inside.
Mail slot privacy hoods make it hard for a potential burglar to reach in and unlock your door from the inside with a hand, wire, or hook.
There are mail slot covers you can purchase. If you don’t need to use the mail slot, you can also simply duct tape it closed from the inside.
There are a few qualities you’d want in your anti-theft mailbox. The best anti-theft mailbox is one with 12-disc wafer locks that are pick-proof and drill-proof. It should be made of galvanized steel and have pry-proof latches. It’s large and can accommodate big deliveries. It has teeth around its tiny mail slots so no one can reach inside.
It’s vital to do your best to prevent mail theft. A thief could not only cost you money in stolen packages but potentially steal your personal information. Anyone can use a name, credit card number, or anything else with personally identifying information against you.
Fortunately, there are many ways to give yourself an anti-theft mailbox. You can get a mail slot that’s hard for fingers or wires to enter. You can have a mailbox made of durable material and protect everything in it with a high-quality lock.
You can get one with hidden compartments and hard-to-find locks. Your anti-theft mailbox could be nearly impossible to crack. You can also enhance security around the anti-theft mailbox itself. Security cameras and doorbell cameras are great ways to watch your mailbox.
There are also anti-theft mailbox alarms that prevent mailbox theft. Having a neighbor keep track of packages is also a fantastic way to stop a thief. Getting foolproof security is vital when it comes to protecting your mailbox.
You can mix and match each of these strategies to fit whatever your budget and circumstances are. Some are easy to implement and can do a lot for your mail security.
Overall, remember that there are always things you can do to combat thieves, no matter how crafty or well-prepared those thieves seem to be. Keep your mailbox protected, and stay safe.