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What Should I Do If Mail Theft Is An Issue In The Community I Manage?

There are all kinds of things to manage when you own a community or work there, taking care of everyday things like rent payments, maintenance, and more. Not least of them is managing how your tenants, whether residential or commercial, receive their mail.

When deciding whether to stay at a property or start renting there, safety is a top concern for tenants. This is true for both commercial tenants (businesses) and those renting apartments, homes, or condominiums. Everyone needs mail delivery that is safe, convenient, and effective.

Unfortunately, mail theft, particularly package theft, is on the rise. Even the theft of regular mail can be a major concern, as this can lead to identity theft, where criminals steal physical mail over time until they have enough personal information to steal someone’s identity.

The good news is that as a property manager, there are ways to combat mail theft. Many are simple, while others offer more permanent solutions to theft altogether.

Simple Fixes

If mail theft isn’t a frequent issue, it may be worth applying such simple fixes temporarily until a more permanent solution can be found. Also, not all packages are delivered by the USPS, so these fixes may help prevent the theft of deliveries from other carriers.

One proven way to prevent theft and vandalism of any sort is to install good lighting around mailboxes or anywhere where packages are often left. This works well no matter what type of mail system your community or commercial property is using. Some communities install cameras to deter vandals and thieves as well.

Keeping packages out of clear sight of potential thieves can also help. Many communities will have the USPS or commercial delivery companies leave packages in a central lobby or clubhouse for pickup later. Such an approach can work well if someone is able to supervise the packages, or hold them in a secure location until pickup.

If tenants are reporting stolen mail or packages, it will help to report the theft to the USPS Postal Inspection Service. Putting out a notice to the entire property may also help to deter the thieves in the future. This will warn other tenants to watch out for theft and to report it.

Permanent Solutions

The most powerful way to combat mail theft and keep customers happy is to look at the mail delivery system that you have in place, and upgrade it if necessary. This means looking at the mailboxes themselves.

An apartment complex, community, or commercial property will have mailboxes that accept USPS or private delivery. These mailboxes can be the best line of defense against mail theft and even package theft, if parcel lockers are included.

Many communities and commercial properties make use of either multi-unit curbside mailboxes or a centralized mail system such as horizontal, wall-mounted units or freestanding units. This is for a good reason.

Some multi-unit curbside mailboxes come with locks, so that the USPS can deliver and only the customer is able to access their mail. These mailboxes often have larger compartments for storing higher volumes of mail, and can work well if tenants are frequently out of town or cannot check their mail very often. Locking mailboxes such as these will prevent the theft of regular mail, which may be sensitive. However, they cannot handle packages.

Centralized mail systems are valuable for many reasons. These systems consist of several to many customer compartments that come together in one or more cabinets, and they often include parcel lockers. Found in central places such as community clubhouses, outdoor concrete slabs, or kiosks, the 4C series of mailboxes are the most secure models available. Made of durable material, they are resistant to tampering and damage.

Each compartment is locking, with each customer receiving a their own keys. Parcel lockers can hold most package sizes, and customers will receive a key to a parcel locker when a package is delivered. This prevents theft of these packages and regular altogether, barring USPS error. Better yet, 4C wall-mounted, recessed, and freestanding mailboxes are guaranteed to last for many, many years, making the need for repairs and replacement almost nonexistent.

In fact, 4C mailboxes are required by the USPS when installing a new centralized mail setup, due to their durability and improved security over old models. They work well for commercial and residential properties, and many customers enjoy the convenience of centralized mail delivery.

Security for Non-USPS Packages

Not all packages come from the USPS, so it is still a good idea to practice other ways to safeguard packages, such as those mentioned above. If these are not enough and theft is still an issue, there is a solution for this as well.

The good news is that parcel lockers, if needed to handle packages from other carriers, can be purchased for private use if there is no good place to hold packages for tenants until they can be picked up. This means that a private employee, such as one working for an apartment complex or commercial property, can receive packages from other carriers and then distribute them to a centralized, parcel locker system. The tenants can then receive a key to pick up their packages at their convenience.

Such an approach may work well in commercial settings if there is no lobby for holding packages, or if delivering them all by hand would be tedious and time-consuming. It can also work well on college campuses to ease the strain on mail rooms.

Stop Mail Theft Today

Stopping mail theft may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking these measures, you can help to retain your tenants for years to come, and attract new ones to your property. Often, installing the right type of mail system is all that is needed to prevent theft for good. In order to get started, contact us today.