Parcel thieves are rising, and nobody likes a nosy neighbor snooping in their mailbox. According to the United States Postal Inspection Service, in 2018 alone, they arrested nearly 2,500 suspects for mail and package theft. Therefore, having a locked mailbox is crucial to prevent mail theft and possible identity theft from the personal information in your mail. Fortunately, today, you can add a security feature to your mailboxes to maintain your privacy and keep your mail safe from mail theft.

What is a Mailbox Lock?

A locking mailbox is just what it sounds like - a mailbox with a locking mechanism. It has a small opening for mail to be placed into the locked portion of the box, which can only be accessed with a key or combination. Locking mailboxes can be mounted on a wall, on a post in the front yard, or near the front door. Some are even freestanding and big enough for packages. 

Different mailboxes today showcase a security feature, such as a locking mechanism that can help prevent mail theft. Mailbox styles with a cam lock can range from Gibraltar mailboxes to variations of a curbside locking mailbox or even a simple locking wall mounted mailbox. The best mailbox could have a security feature and a style that goes with your outdoor home decor. However, it’s important first to recognize the requirements to install a new mailbox with a locking mechanism.

Are Locking Mailboxes USPS Approved?

No matter what kind of residence you’re at, the mailbox still has to meet USPS standards. To keep your mailbox up to standards, your mailbox must be big enough to accommodate all your daily mail and have a large enough slot to fit your mail without obstruction. You cannot place a lock on your mailbox instead of a slot, as a mail carrier cannot accept keys and, therefore, cannot deliver your mail.  

What Are the USPS Regulations For Mailboxes?

Mailbox regulations are meant to prevent delays and increase the efficiency of delivering mail. There are regulations on size, mail slots, location, and identification. 

  • Curbside Mailboxes: Curbside mailboxes must be on the right-hand side of the road facing the road. They must display the box or house number on the front or flag side. The posts should be placed 6” - 8” from the road and made from wood, steel, or aluminum. 
  • Wall Mounted Mailboxes: You should contact the postmaster’s office for specifics. Mail carriers must have safe and unobstructed access. 
  • Cluster Mailboxes: Cluster mailboxes should be preapproved by the postmaster. These are typically installed at businesses or apartments. You will be able to get keys and replacements from the main office. 

Are Locking Mailboxes Easy to Pick?

Unfortunately, the best mailbox lock can still be picked with enough determination. Locking mailboxes have a simple locking mechanism, which means they could be picked by anyone determined enough to get to your mail. However, simply having a locked mailbox deters intruders and thieves from theft since there are much easier targets elsewhere.

What Types of Locking Mailboxes Are There?

A locking mailbox keeps your mail and parcels secured after being delivered. There are a variety of sizes and styles of mailboxes, but the important part is security

  • Mail Slot: You’ll need to ensure the opening is big enough for the mail to be inserted but not enough for a hand to reach inside and take the mail. 
  • Anti-Pry Latch: Some have anti-pry latches, preventing thieves from using screwdrivers or pry bars to open your mailbox. 
  • Key Locks: Many of the locks require keys to open and can have built-in anti-drill and anti-picking mechanisms. However, it would be best if you were sure not to lose the key.
  • Combination Locks: Combination locks can be opened with a series of numbers, so you won’t have to worry about losing a key. However, you may risk forgetting the combination or having someone watch you open your mailbox and learn the combination. 

It is also recommended you get a locking mailbox with a substantial storage compartment to hold packages and paper mail. In addition, your mailbox should be durable so it can’t be smashed open and weatherproof to protect your mail from the elements. 

How Do You Install a Locking Mailbox?

When installing your mailbox, it’s good to check what installation method is required. That all depends on the type of mailbox you get. Curbside mailboxes can be difficult to install since they must be mounted to a wooden, plastic, or metal pole at the curb. Posts should be secured in the ground with concrete. Wall-mounted mailboxes typically have mounting screws and require a drill or hammer to mount them to the wall. Tower-Style drop boxes are usually freestanding and, thus, easiest to install. However, it is recommended they are bolted to a mounting plate so they cannot be picked up and carried away. 

Do Mailmen Have Access to Locked Mailboxes?

A mail carrier is not allowed to accept keys for personalized locked mailboxes. The only way they can access them is through the mail slot. If a package is too big to fit in the mail slot for your locked box, they will have to leave it on the porch, or you can request pickup at a post office. 

What Are The Drawbacks of A Locking Mailbox?

The main drawback is losing access. It’s easy to lose keys or forget combinations that could result in a lock change. If you have a neighbor pick up your mail while you’re out of town, you’ll have to give out your keys or combinations. Also, many locked mailboxes are not large enough for packages, especially styles such as a baffle door, so those are still sitting on your porch, tempting porch pirates.

How Else Can I Make My Mailbox More Secure?

 While a locking mailbox is a step in the right direction for security, there are other things you can do as well. You can sign up for delivery notifications online at USPS.com. That way, you’ll be able to see if something is missing and report it. If you cannot pick up your mail right away, you can also install a mailbox alarm or transmitter. The alarm lets you know when your mail has arrived and when someone accesses your mailbox. If those aren’t enough, you can always install a mailbox camera. These can be mounted on your home, in trees, or inside the mailbox. Unfortunately, there is no perfect way to secure your belongings, but these options are a great way to start.

How can ModernAspect Help Me?

Modern Aspect provides curl-appeal products to keep your home decor looking beautiful. They offer a variety of planters, mailboxes, address signs, and potted plants, as well as other services. Fortunately, you can keep your mail secure and your house looking good with themed and matching home decor.