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The communal curbside mailboxes at my townhouse frequently are pried open. (The unit is a Salsbury Industries, Aluminum 3504ASU Surface Mounted Vertical Mailbox with 4 Doors and USPS Access).

I know the lock on my personal box can be replaced, as I replaced it after an earlier pry-open damaged the latch.

Is there a type of latch that is more resistant to prying that could be swapped in? Or is the problem the metal of the door being too flexible? There are tons of supposedly more secure boxes available online, but I'm hoping for a fix that could be applied individually, and it seems that would mean reinforcing the door or improving the lock.

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  • Wow, mail theft is a Federal crime. Report that to the Postal Inspector, and it may be time for a well-placed trail camera. That person is headed for Leavenworth. Sep 23, 2020 at 16:37
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    I'm not confident they're working round the clock shifts down at the crime lab to track down the perp, but I agree about a camera. The issue there is it maybe lets the person be caught, but only after the fact.
    – A Barron
    Sep 23, 2020 at 16:53
  • If your view toward mail theft is so fatalistic, it's time for a PMB. Sep 23, 2020 at 17:03
  • Our neighborhood has also had problems with mail theft. I had a locking mailbox and the thieves managed to pry it open by bending the latch. My wife wanted a "Fort Knox" mailbox, but they are very expensive. fortknoxmailbox.com Instead I took the mailbox into my shop drilled out the hole using my drill press for a house door dead bolt, backed it up with a short length of 2x4, worked great. I've seen evidence of more theft attempts, but no luck getting past that dead bolt! Sep 23, 2020 at 22:30
  • I presume "townhouse" is like "condo" in that they're all privately owned. If everyone is experiencing mail thefts, but there's no landlord to act, it sounds like it's time for you to be the leader and organize your neighbors to purchase & install a more secure mailbox setup for everyone.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 24, 2020 at 11:41

2 Answers 2

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I believe you're going to find that the lock itself is not the weak link in this mailbox product. The doors are thin Aluminum and I believe are easily pried open with a standard screwdriver or similar tool. You can replace the lock with a high-security version if there is such a product available for this model, and you still will not solve the problem.

I have a couple of suggestions, however:

  1. There are higher security mailbox systems available from numerous vendors. These are more expensive that what you have but having your mail stolen can also be quite expensive. So replace the current flimsy unit with a better one to discourage opportunistic theft.
  2. Relocating to a more visible location, adding lighting, enclosing the mailboxes in a structure that only residents and the USPS have access to might be helpful.
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  • it's a shared mailbox group, likely on communal land. OP may now own any road-frontage.
    – Jasen
    Sep 24, 2020 at 9:10
  • Replacement is looking like the best option at this point, though I'm wondering about stiffening the aluminum door by screwing wood into the inside as an alternative or stopgap measure.
    – A Barron
    Sep 25, 2020 at 0:18
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In the video on this page https://www.amazon.com/Salsbury-Industries-3504ASU-Vertical-Aluminum/dp/B005F639KW the box seems to have a regular cam lock.

Replacing the straight cam with a hooked cam and suitable striker will prevent prying.

enter image description here

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  • Thanks for this idea - I'm not sure it's practical in the exact setup we have - I know I can change the cam, but I don't know if there's a place for the hook to go, if that makes sense, as it strikes into the wall of the box next to it.
    – A Barron
    Sep 25, 2020 at 0:20
  • you may need to add a place for the hook before the wall of the next box, the existing cam must stop before the wall of the next box already.
    – Jasen
    Sep 25, 2020 at 0:52

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