My mail box has been damaged twice this year, both times late Saturday night. The first time a friend repaired it. The second time it was too badly damaged. Our postlady has been putting the mail in an unused newspaper box. I have been contemplating what to do and will also need to replace a lantern that was damaged in the first attack. The mailbox is 250ft from the house so our ability to monitor is limited. No nearby neighbors. I have a garden around the mailbox post and it looked very pretty last year so I would like to make the area presentable again. I am concerned that the replacement mail box and lamp would be damaged again. Our insurance deductible is $500.
You might contact your local police about the vandalism, they may not be able to prevent something happening again but if they're aware that things like that have been happening in your neighborhood maybe they can drive by occasionally and that could act as a deterrent (or maybe the person who vandalized your mailbox has already been caught for something else, and if they can prove it was them that hit your mailbox too, then you might be able to get the guilty party to pay to fix it...sort of a long shot, but not impossible). I wouldn't use your insurance to pay for this, I doubt if it'll cost much more than your deductible (if even that much) to get it fixed, and it's easier to keep your insurance rates down and be able to easily get insurance in the future if you don't have a bunch of claims on your record so personally I would never consider using insurance for something small like this.
Do a search for 'vandal proof mailbox'. For fifty bucks you can get a pretty stout mailbox, a couple hundred gets you explosion resistant. There are locking ones too. Also the way you mount it to the pole can help. Some people take a 'break-away' approach to mounting mail boxes, so when the little moron leans out the car window and swings a bat at it, it will just fall off, ready to be re-mounted the next day.
Another idea for the longer term is to use one of those motion sensitive cameras that hunters use to identify deer on trails. I think walmart has them.
Our town is so small that we borrow the state police. We left them a message about the vandalism, but didn't hear back. The vandals smashed the mailbox, it's post and a postlamp. I'll be needing an electrician to wire in the replacement fixture. May not be cheap, but likely less than the deductible. Because they struck again so soon after the box was repaired, I feel like they are waiting for the replacement to show up. We are a mile down a dead end street. Not sure if the State Police want to camp out here. They'd be very welcome!
The idea of an explosion proof box sounds interesting although part of me wishes that it would explode when touched and terrify the vandals into leaving it alone. Maybe the motion sensitive camera would be a good direction to go because if they don't strike the box, they could get either light or the gate or the garden!
Probably, but they seem to have their hands full with other things. And it's almost unheard of to catch somebody at this. A week doesn't go by that there's not a mention of this sort of thing in the paper around here. Lots of suburbia and small towns connected by country roads... easy pickins for those who would assault a defenseless metal box.
Wow jasmerr, that site is something Wile E. Coyote might have come up with. I'm guessing the inventor has a personal stake in these designs.
Maybe offer a small reward in the local paper? It might put some fear in their little heads, if nothing else. They probably don't read the paper but somebody they know might get wind of it.
Put up a sign stating "Smile for the Police! You (and your vehicle) are now on camera!"
This worked to keep the neighbourhood kids from continuing to vandalise my large perennial bed alongside the road. They had a great time snapping off flower stalks, and pulling entire plants up one spring, until the sign went up; after that, I had no further problems.
I didn't have a camera set up, but they didn't know that!
Love these suggestions. My fantasies also go toward waiting till warmer weather and putting a cot in the driveway in back of the front gate.There is no traffic to speak of on the road so any car is likely to wake me. So I borrow a paint gun from a friend's child and use red paint. I would just shoot at the car which is likely to belong to the hoodlums parents leaving the kids with some explaining to do. A very satisfying thought, but one that I am unlikely to follow through with.
Mailbox vandalism is a federal offense punishable by up to 3 years in jail or $250,000 so maybe I should get a camera. I wonder how clear the pictures would be at night.
I have a garden around the mailbox, so do somewhat hesitate about making it stinky. Also, if I had a little mailbox surrounded by concrete and a bigger mailbox, I'd think that outside mailbox would end up looking ugly after being hit several times.
What about a plastic bag on top disguised with some silk vine. Place either paint or dog poo in the bag so when it is hit it explodes all over the person with the bat and maybe even in parents car window. Ok no one said I wasn't mischievious. Would love to be there to see their faces.
I try to be good honest. But they would deserve it for tearing up the mail box.
covering that area of the road with glass or those strips with upward facing nails that are used to tack down the edges of wall to wall carpet. Since there is only 1 house beyond ours and they are friends, I could easily warn anyone with a legitimate reason for being there to stay clear of the road near our mailbox.
another involves a bucket of something nasty strung overhead on a wire between trees. I'd have to spend the night in wait though.
Need to check out that camera. I shouldn't go breaking the law, but is is really against the law to put glass near ones mailbox?
You are correct in assuming that it is illegal to tamper with a mailbox including those for your own personal mail. If you have proof that a certain individual (such as video) has destroyed a mail box it is indeed a felony. Tampering with the mailbox also goes the other way as well, that includes putting anything that may be intenionally harmful to the mail carrier in or around it. I really like the sign idea. They would have not way of telling if you had a camera or not. You could even get a dummy camera and put it up out of reach where they would be able to see it but not tamper with it.
If I booby trapped the mailbox, it woud be on a Sat PM and I would undo the boobytrap before Monday. I love my maillady and would not put her at risk.
But anyway, the above are just fantasy revenges and I think that the camera idea is the best choice. I doubt that many kids have any idea the trouble they could get into and would not take the trouble to read a sign on a dark street after a few illegally obtained beers when they are in full swing with a bat.
Just had one of those Homer Simpson moments...DOHHH...I am sure that they would not read a sign in the dark! I bet that they would come back during the day to see the results of their handiwork though. The cement mail box actually sounds like a good option and would not be that difficult or expensive to implement.
Yes, but what would the outer box look like after an attack?
I have a 36 inch concrete pipe around the base of the box as a planter, maybe I need to get a smaller diameter concrete pipe cut to serve as a mailbox. What to use as a post for a concrete mailbox though, it would be heavy.
I'm glad I found this thread. My 7 yr old son woke up yesterday morning around 7 and looked out his window and saw that our mailbox and post were in the middle of the street. We called the police and luckily the vandals struck more than our house. Someone saw them and they were arrested! They didn't use a bat, just their vehicle. We have landscape timbers around the mailbox in a square, they were run over and pushed in the driveway, plants uprooted, the mailbox had a few dents but the post was smashed and sent down the street. The post is covered in red paint (the color of their vehicle).
Hubby told the officer that he wants to press charges and hopefully the other people will too.
I don't think these kids should be allowed to drive.
We have put up with a lot of nonsense in our neighborhood. Someone stole a nativity flag that hung on the mailbox post once, peanut butter on the door handles of the van, someone poured gas on the grass in the front yard, have also found $10, a cell phone charger, cigs and candy in a flower bed. Guess it's the price you pay to live in a community with schools nearby.
I like the idea of the sign about the camera and police!
I can't guess why the vandals would damage the car they were driving. Maybe they were drunk.
It is great to hear that they were arrested. Remember they can go to jail for 3 years or be fines up to $250,000.
Even a small fraction of that might dissuade other vandals.
LOL. Chances of catching these guys is small but you can try. Best defense is to make the mail box very strong. Then when they whack it, they will hurt themselves. Tire defense is large spikes hidden around the mailbox covered by plantings. Some big 1/2 inch by 6 inch long sharp bolts will kill a tire or two. You know they're there and know one should be stepping into your plants so it's safe for everyone but the mail box terrorists. LOL. A little rebar will go a long ways. Hehe. Anything that will set off a flash will deter repeat offenders.
I don't have many suggestions for you now but I can talk to my inlaws, they have dealt with it a few times.
When I saw your thread it made me think of all the stories my better half told me about mailbox bashing that was very common in his area...and where did he grow up?? CT!
His mom and stepdad were in the Waterbury area, Dad in Jewitt city and aunts and uncles in other areas.
Evidently this is a very common teenage boy thing to do on weekend nights in Connecticut. There are vandalism proof mailboxes, a net search will find them, or how about building a brick house for the box?
Something so sturdy htting it with a bat while driving by would hurt!
That is one thing about country living...teens and drunks get bored.
Seems like any of the physical deterrents would also affect the mail deliverer. As for the Federal offense, if they were juveniles the Court would probably just say "bad boys, don't do it again", and hand them back their bat. If they are adult, and are caught, chances of any significant action by the Courts is also doubtful. If you harm them or their property then you will likely end up being the 'heavy' instead of the worthless vandals. Unfortunately, and unfairly, my best thought is to just keep replacing the mailboxes, and hope they will soon tire of it. Gosh! did I take a cynical pill this morning ? Good luck in whatever you decide.
About 8 years ago I had to replace our mailbox 3 times in one summer due to bat-bashing. The fourth time I was standing in Lowes staring at the mailbox selection and wondering what to do - I spotted a picture on a box of a semi truck with it's front wheel parked on top of a mailbox sitting on the ground - definitely had my attention! Turns out this thing is made of heavy gauge steel but looks like a normal box. I paid the 50 bucks and went home to mount it as tight as I could so it wouldn't get knocked off the post. It didn't take them much more than a week before I found a slight mark on the powder coated paint job and a beautifully splintered baseball bat - I mean totally shattered - in the ditch behind the box. Since then we moved and you can bet I brought my bat proof box with me! I will never have to buy another box again! This time I mounted the box on a piece of old power pole (about 18" thick and buried 3 + feet into the ground) If anyone tries the run it over method - they're going to have a surprise!
Hi Balvenie, Had a great day outside! There's "work" and there's work. The "chores" type of work around our place is my therapy - helps to work off a little stress and it's just such a relief to get outside and get all sweaty and dirty for a bit! My two oldest are home for the summer so I've go lot's of help. Todays projects were a bunch of fence work (we're on 10 acres) and then weed eaters, machetes, and chain saws the rest of the day. Did my first big round with the black berries and worked on our fruit trees for a while. What a perfect day for it all! I still have to clean the barn, but that'll wait til tomorrow. Have a great weekend!
If those nasty guys were out to disfigure your mailbox intentionally, then perhaps you could be creative and make your new heavy duty mailbox look already tampered with and so they''ll have nothing else to do!
Or better yet, buy a big black truck, put noisy pipes on it. sneak it home and make sure no one knows you bought it, then sit in wait at night for them and when they show start the truck, rev it good and act like you are gonna chase them. They will start screaming and never come back. hehehahahahaheheahha
I got a heavy duty steel mailbox today at Home Depot. Is was hard to lift and I hope that it will be as hard to damage.
I also got another plastic post cover to go over the 4x4. The last plastic post cover was smashed once the mailbox was off. Hopefully, they will only try to damage the mailbox and if they fail, they will go away...
We had trouble here, too, and I felt certain they were friends of my daughter's from school, yes, boys, so I just called a handful of the mothers of boys and told them we had hired a company to install cameras, had the police agree to run by with extra patrols, and were going to fully prosecute any one who got caught, including payment for damages and the court & attorney cost of our civil lawsuits. I told them to pass it on to all the parents of the boys since I didn't know most of them well enough to call, as sort of a heads up since I knew their darling son wasn't involved (~snort) but felt certain it was someone from school, and maybe they'd hear and desist.
I also told my daughter this, and that if she were caught doing any vandalism that the property owners, whomever they may be, would be free to prosecute and we wouldn't do a thing to help her, but that I'm sure she could get a law student or court appointed lawyer to maybe help her out. Also that any moneys would come out of her pocket, but that selling her car would probably pay for most of the legal fees, and she could work for a year instead of going off to college to pay for the property damages (assuming she'd get a job on the bus route) Uh, can you tell I was hopping mad?
In any case it stopped with the first phone call, so if your town is small enough you borrow the State Police, then it's small enough that a couple of friendly phone calls will do the trick. If you don't know the people, you could ask if they've had any trouble, and tell them the cameras woud be a lot cheaper if a lot of neighbors would get them installed, too. Tell them you are getting three cameras, to make sure the license plates are in the photos for prosecution and civil lawsuit purposes, and that there is a price break at 10. Believe me, this would be dinner conversation in any normal household.
I would also caution you against putting anything in the road or lane, as anyone would have the right to expect free passage, and likewise, the mailbox would be totally off limits.
Thanks for describing your experience, it is a great success story. It sounds like your intuition was correct. Your daughter is lucky to be parented by one of the few non-enabling parents left.
Our new mailbox is still unscathed and I hope undentable.
I have no idea who to call. We have no children and no known enemies; however, I live on a mile long road with 3 houses and a 250 ft long driveway. I think that the attraction may be not who we are, but the low probability of being caught.
lillyo, We had a sleeping semi truck trailer land on top of our mail box the posts and the stand held up by the posts. They were beautiful old split rail and had been there for 50 yrs. It was maddening. I contacted the corporate supervisor in charge of the tractor trailer who provided me with a claim # and a corporate contact. She requested a list of costs associated with replacing everything lost or damaged beyond repair. I billed them $25/hr for my labor + itemized every single piece of material. I got a check for $265 within 2 months. I gave my son $40 for assisting with assembly and digging the post holes. I salvaged rr ties and used 1ft long lag screws to tie it all together. We used a tire iron to assemble the framework of rr ties together. The beast weighed about 200 lbs when assembled. It was a quarter mile drive out our driveway in my neighbors pick-up truck to the hwy where the 3 mailboxes sit now. I pocketed $225 after paying my son for his time because I got all the materials from our shop that has been full of junk and lumber for 50 years. I found an enormous and beautiful hand made copper mail box and paid $90 for it on a blowout clearance discount store. The postal lady says we have the nicest mail box and postal box set-up in the entire eastern part of the valley ... and best of all it was better than free. The new copper mail box was purchased about 2 weeks before the tractor trailer landed on it. We almost lost it because I was planning on mounting it on the old posts the morning the trailer flattened the old set-up. Serendipity.
I have a school bus pulling (flying) into my driveway every school day. We live on a cul de sac, so there is no reason other than they are too lazy to slow down. They come into the cul de sac in the wrong lane and leave it facing traffic in the wrong lane. One day they just may meet something head on and hurt someone.
The kids must fly when she turns so sharply going into my driveway. I swear the bus sways. Maybe it is her intent to knock the kids into their seats.
Glad to hear the box is working.
I once saw a little old lady trying to right her knocked off mailbox on a busy rural highway. I felt so sorry for her. These idiots are so clueless about the problems they make for others. I can't imagine any fun in destroying a box. Whoopee?
I also saw a brick mailbox stand that had most likely been involved in an accident by a car missing a curve in the road. I had to laugh out loud when I saw it recently all put back together. It looked all misalligned and sort of pyramidal. Looks like something I might have tried to do to save hiring a professional to put the pieces back together. LOL
lillyo, I never thought of posting a photo. I'll get one and do so. It is a rugged looking thing. I really like that the box is solid hand wrought / hand made from copper. It was such a bargain. every time I drop over to the mailbox section at a hardware store I get a thrill to compare what I have and what is sold and the prices.
I finally found the police report from the incident. Someone in the neighborhood saw these kids and called the police. That night, they vandalized 3 mailboxes and were seen starting fires. All of them were prosecuted.
Last night while trick or treating, some moms that live a few houses down told me that kids still start fires behind their houses.
To the person who posted about putting concrete in the mailbox. My grandfather had this same problem way before I was born and what he did was fill the mailbox with bricks. He said that he was watching out the window as the vandals drove by and the one with the bat was in the back of a pickup truck. He said that it pulled him out of the truck. I wish i could have been there to see that.
Hi, Last night while in bed i heard a wreck noise so i looked outside the window, i saw some lights on so I figured someone wrecked outside my house, i took a closer look outside but i hesitated from going outside because it was very late at night (it was past 12) I could see the end of the car from where I was standing, so I watched the car for a lil bit and didn't really think anything major happened. The car finally started moving and left turning into the street in front of my house. So I could see exactly what kind of car it was but I failed to catch the license plate. Well i just went back to bed thinking nothing really happened. The next morning I noticed my mailbox was completely shattered in the middle of the street. Thats when i realized that the car from last night crashed into my mailbox. Now I am debating wheather or not I should report it to the police realizing all the information I have is what kind of car it was. Can anyone help me out?
I'd report it, whether they hit it by accident or on purpose it's their responsibility to replace your mailbox. I'm not sure how good your chances are of finding them without a license plate number, but I would definitely file a police report anyway, you really have nothing to lose. Do they maybe live by you? You mentioned they turned into the street in front of your house, maybe you could take a stroll down that street and see if you can find the car and get that license plate number.
I still say a nice pillar. Made of brick with your mailbox snuggled inside with cement and mortar. A car can hit it and probably not take off. They hit is with a stick or a bat and they would have a broken arm. :-)
My heavy Home Depot mailbox is still intact after a year and a baseball bat attack. The 36in concrete pipe section that is around its base didn't even get budged by the plows last winter and is full of clematis and petunias that even the deer have left alone.