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Canada Post needs to look hard at its community mailbox program
Editor: Langley Township Councillor Steve Ferguson complains that the community mailboxes he and his neighbours use have been broken into 10 times in the past year. His beef with Canada Post (The Times, Jan.16) has bestirred me to write what I’ve been thinking.
Faced with plummeting revenue now that people are using the Internet so much, Canada Post has decided to cease home-by-home delivery service, instead erecting community mailboxes for all, presumably at midway locations sheltered from passing traffic. Old or young, strong or frail, by foot or vehicle, foul weather or shine, we ourselves must expend time to make a daily trip, opening our own box, just in case we have mail.
The solution to the problem becomes the problem, as many solutions do: Lost, lent, mislaid or stolen keys, key copying, multiple use by family members or people sharing an apartment, change of residency without key return, not to mention administration complications.
But, above all, looms this. Is Canada Post willfully enabling criminals? Everyone becomes open to identity theft. Vulnerable folk might be attacked physically when accessing lonely mailboxes. When statements are stolen without the intended recipient’s knowledge, interest mounts up as bills become past due.
We can guess the fate of any cheques or money orders sent. Then there is the heartless discarding of greeting cards from kindly friends or relatives, which would have brightened a person’s day.
No matter how a mailbox is designed, “bad guys” will feel challenged to overcome its technology. This spurs the “good guys” to upstage with new technology, an ironic benefit that has ever prospered the technological evolution — unless it fetters our future freedom. Meantime, our overburdened police force finds its revenue resources strained instead. Cost savings go out the window.
And who might be getting the contract to build these metal invitations to a criminal free-for-all? If cameras are erected to spy on who visits the boxes (who can that be with a mask and hoody, who jimmies so swiftly?), it’s just another wasteful expenditure.
My solution is to limit home-by-home mail delivery. The same mail carrier could service two alternating territories — the first one, Monday-Wednesday-Friday one week, Tuesday-Thursday the following week; the second one, Tuesday-Thursday one week, M-W-F the following.
This would preserve employment for some mail carriers, eliminating the metal monstrosities as well as mind-boggling crime escalation.
Canada Post needs to look, not think. It is supposed to be a service to the community. In the words of an inspired TV ad about accident prevention, “Have a word with yourself.”