While outdoor postal boxes like these have been redesigned to make them harder for thieves to rob, lobby mail boxes are still vulnerable. Police have issued a warning to residents of Langley. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

New mail theft warning issued by Langley RCMP

As community mail boxes get harder to crack, thieves are going after residential mailboxes

As community mail boxes get harder to crack, thieves are going after residential mailboxes, Langley RCMP are warning.

An advisory by the local detachment was distributed with the latest Langley City newsletter.

As Canada Post installs new, harder-to-crack community mailboxes in the Langleys, “privately owned boxes of apartment, townhouse and single family residences are being hit” the bulletin states.

Crooks are getting into apartment lobbies and rummaging through outside mailboxes, it said.

Langley, which has many community mail boxes located in rural areas where there is little surveillance, was the mail theft “hot spot” in the Lower Mainland and even Canada for a number of years, with as many as 20 mail thefts a night.

In many cases, the multiple thefts were the result of single, prolific offenders and the theft rate dropped with their arrest.

The switch to newer, heavy-duty community mail boxes reduced mail theft substantially, with just 20 reported incidents in in a six-month period.

The RCMP bulletin said a few simple changes can make residential mailbox less of a target.

Tips for Lobby mailboxes:

Check with your intercom provider; has the “trades code” been removed? Set the timer to allow Canada Post a window of two hours either side of their regular delivery time.

Acquire free “No Key No Entry” signs from your Community Police Office or the Main RCMP Detachment, to remind residents not to let anyone walk in behind them.

Remind everyone in the building not to buzz someone in unless they are visiting their suites.

Tips for outside mailboxes:

Can the mailboxes be easily seen; are there shrubs or other plant materials blocking the natural surveillance of the boxes?

Trim or remove any landscape materials creating any concealment of the boxes.

Keep the area around the mailboxes neat; a well-kept space says that you care for your property.

General Tips:

Retrieve your mail as soon as possible after delivery – don’t leave mail unattended in your mailbox overnight.

If you’re planning a holiday, have someone retrieve your mail on a daily basis — or for a small fee, Canada Post will hold your mail at the delivery office and deliver it upon your return.

If you receive mail that is not yours, do not leave it in an unprotected area.

Write “delivered to wrong address” or “not at this address” on the front of the envelope and deposit the letter into a Canada Post mailbox at your earliest convenience.

Check the physical security of your mailbox to ensure there are no gaps or damage; check with a lock specialist on the cost of increasing the security of your boxes.

If you see a crime in progress, call Langley RCMP at 911.

The non-emergency number, 604-532-3200 can be used to report a suspicious person, activity or a crime that has already occurred.

For more tips on keeping your community safer visit your local Community Police Office or the Main RCMP Detachment.