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Are USPS Collection Mailboxes Safe?

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The blue USPS collection mailboxes and the public mail chutes that are often found in high-traffic locations are designed to hold mail until the USPS collects it for pickup, typically once or twice per day. These mailboxes are also found in front of post offices.

These mailboxes are of sturdy construction, and no one is allowed to access the inside of these mailboxes other than USPS employees, who can use a special lock to retrieve the mail inside.

However, these boxes aren’t as common as they were in the past, partially to protect you and the USPS from mail thieves. You may need to use one outside of your post office.

Are Some Times Better Than Others When Using These Collection Mailboxes?

The USPS advises customers to use the blue collection mailboxes before the last pickup of the day, and to avoid using them on Sundays to minimize the chance of mail theft. This will prevent the mail or package from sitting overnight inside a mailbox, or over more than one day.

Holidays are naturally riskier times for sending mail, especially packages and cards, as these are often targets of thieves. You may want to avoid using a drop box during holiday seasons when possible.

If you are worried, sending mail by going inside the post office directly might be the safest option for sending mail, though it may be slightly more time-consuming.

Does the USPS Take Mail Theft Seriously?

Yes. It is a federal crime to steal mail, whether it is directly from a mailbox, including collection mailboxes, or from the post office. Penalties can include long prison sentences, because mail theft is often used to steal identities and commit fraud. The USPS is also a federal agency, which is why sentences for mail theft are so high.

Many states also have penalties for mail theft, which can be included on top of any federal charges.

If your mail has been stolen, report it to the postmaster immediately.