Langley Township Councillor Steve Ferguson is fed up with Canada Post’s inaction on improving the security of community mailboxes, after his was broken into again last week.
“Our mailboxes have been broken into 10 times over the past year. It’s very frustrating and my neighbours are getting as fed up as I am,” said Ferguson.
He arrived to get his mail in his Fernridge area neighbourhood only to have a notice put on the boxes letting residents know that there was a break-in and mail was taken.
Now he has been told to pick up his mail at the main Canada Post office in Langley City on Production Way, during business hours of 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
It could take up to two weeks to repair the community box, writes Canada Post.
“We have to travel 10 kilometres to the City of Langley to get our mail,” said Ferguson.
“We are so frustrated with Canada Post. They promised us new mailboxes and a better secured system. I don’t even know what mail was stolen.”
Calling Canada Post community mailboxes “inferior” and “poorly designed” in October, Ferguson convinced a majority of Township council to back his campaign for improvements to the design of the grouped-together boxes. They have been installed in new residential areas in lieu of house-to-house delivery since 1985.
Ferguson said the mailboxes are easy targets for break-ins and can be pried open using a screwdriver and any household tool.
“Mail theft, tampering and vandalism became a problem the day after the [first] community boxes were installed,” Ferguson said.
His written resolution, approved by a majority of council on Oct. 21, asks the post office to “put into place measures to make these community mailboxes secure from forced entry and theft” and to consider adopting Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to make the mailboxes less vulnerable.
The resolution was sent to every government body, provincially and federally, and sent to all municipalities.
“We received a thank you for the motion from Canada Post. They are always very polite,” said Ferguson about Canada Post’s lack of response.
In October Langley RCMP put out a warning, saying mail theft was rampant, with 18 mailboxes being pried open on Oct. 21 alone. Thousands of pieces of stolen mail was recovered from a vehicle that crashed and was abandoned on 200 Street in Brookswood that same month.
“I spoke with Langley RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke, and he told me “don’t even get me started on mail theft.” He said the amount of resources that are being used up to chase down these files and sort out all the mail is huge.
“Those police resources could be used somewhere else,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said for every officer investigating the mounting mail theft problem, it is costing Langley taxpayers.
B.C. is the mail theft capital of Canada.
Canada Post is going through massive transitions as it is phasing out home delivery of mail and putting in more community mailboxes.
Canada Post has always said that once the mail is dropped off, it no longer has any responsibility for the safety of people’s mail.
Ferguson recognizes that community mailboxes are here to stay but security must be improved.
“Mail is still important to people so we have to do better,” he said.