A rash of break-ins into mailboxes at Langley City apartment buildings has left some residents without service for the past three weeks.
Around April 13, three residential building complexes in the area of 201A Street and Fraser Highway were hit in one day, police records show.
The resident of one complex, who asked not to be identified, said the owners have not yet repaired the damage to the mailboxes, forcing residents to visit a nearby Canada Post depot to collect their mail.
“It’s not long by bike, but it’s the inconvenience,” the resident said.
“There are people in this building who use walkers and wheelchairs.”
Canada Post spokesperson Darcia Kmet confirmed that the mailboxes were privately owned and said questions about their repair should be directed to the property manager.
Kmet said affected customers have been informed by letter that until the mailboxes are fixed, they can temporarily pick up their mail at the depot, with “proper picture ID.”
“We encourage anyone who witnesses suspicious activities to immediately report them to the police and contact Canada Post’s Customer Service at 1-800-267-1177,” Kmet said.
Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said to prevent mail theft, residents should exercise caution about allowing people in to the building and making it harder for thieves.
“Make sure you empty your mail box,” Largy said.
The apartment resident said his building has posted signs warning that “unauthorized people” are getting into the building to sleep in the stair wells.
Despite that, occupants are “constantly letting people in,” the resident said.
RCMP have warned that with new, harder-to-open outdoor community mailboxes, crooks would be targeting easier-to-crack privately owned boxes.
When Canada Post installed the new community mailboxes in the Langleys, Police warned thieves were going after easier targets: privately owned boxes of apartment, townhouse and single family residences are being hit.
Langley was the mail theft “hot spot” in the Lower Mainland and even Canada for a number of years, with as many as 20 mail thefts a night.
The switch to newer, heavy-duty community mail boxes reduced mail theft substantially, with just 20 reported incidents in over a six-month period.
An RCMP bulletin said a few simple changes can make residential mailbox less of a target.
Tips for Lobby mailboxes:
Check with your intercom provider; has the “trades code” been removed? Set the timer to allow Canada Post a window of two hours either side of their regular delivery time.
Acquire free “No Key No Entry” signs from your Community Police Office or the Main RCMP Detachment, to remind residents not to let anyone walk in behind them.
Remind everyone in the building not to buzz someone in unless they are visiting their suites.
Tips for outside mailboxes:
Can the mailboxes be easily seen; are there shrubs or other plant materials blocking the natural surveillance of the boxes?
Trim or remove any landscape materials creating any concealment of the boxes.
Keep the area around the mailboxes neat; a well-kept space says that you care for your property.
Retrieve your mail as soon as possible after delivery – don’t leave mail unattended in your mailbox overnight.
If you’re planning a holiday, have someone retrieve your mail on a daily basis — or for a small fee, Canada Post will hold your mail at the delivery office and deliver it upon your return.
If you receive mail that is not yours, do not leave it in an unprotected area.
Write “delivered to wrong address” or “not at this address” on the front of the envelope and deposit the letter into a Canada Post mailbox at your earliest convenience.
Check the physical security of your mailbox to ensure there are no gaps or damage; check with a lock specialist on the cost of increasing the security of your boxes.
If you see a crime in progress, call Langley RCMP at 911.
The non-emergency number, 604-532-3200 can be used to report a suspicious person, activity or a crime that has already occurred.