I live in a very nice neighborhood, quite upscale and full of custom-built homes. It’s not that we’re pretentious or anything like that, it’s just that people around here do well and feel comfortable spending some of their money on a quality home. It’s not a gated community or anything exclusive, but we do have a neighborhood association that’s paid for some extras.
For example, unlike most housing projects in our area of the same vintage, there are no big commercial mailboxes when you drive through our neighborhood. We received permission from the Post Office allow individual residential mailboxes on each of the homes. We also paid extra to have the city make allowances for several upgrades, including cast-iron Victorian-style lamp posts instead of the standard street lighting, and the sidewalks are made of nice, pink interlocking brick instead of poured concrete or asphalt. There was some sniping among a few of the original owners about the fee to have the pavers installed throughout the entire neighborhood, but most of those people are doctors or lawyers; they can afford it.
The one thing we didn’t really think about when deciding on our mailboxes, though, was teenagers. We don’t have gangs of teens spray-painting or tagging the commercial mailboxes like in some parts of the city, but we have had other issues; some of the local teens decided that it would be cool to wait until homeowners were at work, then rifle through their residential mailboxes, looking for credit cards and other useful bits of personal information.
Obviously, the solution was to catch the kids before they caused real harm to themselves and their unwitting victims, but that is always easier said than done. So Plan B was to suggest homeowners install locking mailboxes for their own protection, replacing their original mailboxes. That was not a popular suggestion. So many people had invested in attractive, decorative mailboxes.
Go to a hardware store and try to find locking mailboxes that make any attempt whatsoever to look attractive. Good luck to you.
Fortunately, a neighbor found the website for a company that specializes in this sort of thing and passed the URL around for everyone. The Mailbox Works not only offers a wide range of locking mailboxes, but many of the models they carry look nicer than the ones on our homes now.
In the end, one of the kids who was riffling through mailboxes was caught by his parents with a pilfered credit card, and that put a stop to the problem. But my wife and I and many of our neighbors still replaced our original Mailboxes with locking mailboxes. It was the smart thing to do.
Written By Robert Urgo