Instructables

vandal resistant rural mailbox ideas

I am hoping that some of you creative, DIY'ers out there can brainstorm with me to come up with a vandal proof (or at least resistant) rural mailbox.  Our mailbox sits 4.5 miles out from our house, in the middle of nowhere, at a county crossroads.  It has been shot up and other wise vandalized several times over the years.  One time some sick jerk put 3 small dead dogs in it.  I still can't believe that one.  Most recently, the entire mailbox and 2-pc mounting post was stolen.  The whole thing!  We looked for several miles along the ditches to see if it had been tossed, but no luck.  I have looked at the commercial mailboxes, and boy, are they expensive!  If I am going to spend that kind of cash, I'd rather find a way to make something that will REALLY do the job.
So, I am visualizing something metal, like a steel barrel.  Somehow making a locking access door to retrieve mail (the mail carrier is not allowed to carry a key, OR get out of his vehicle) but with a large enough mail slot to accommodate small packages, maybe with some kind of trapdoor to drop mail down but prevent sticking an arm in to steal mail. 
What kind of ideas can you all come up with?  I figure I can get my cousin to do any welding I might need, 
Thanks!  I look forward to reading your good ideas!

Yes, I learned that the hard way, doesn't matter what they do if you complain they will do even worse to you, I never realized that the post office hired such gangster minded thugs but I found out they do, and of course you have to contend with just the idiots out there that just enjoy harming something or making an illegal profit. I have been thinking for a long time what I could do to stop such things, in twenty-three years I have replaced at least six to eight mail boxes and that was after they been repeatedly damaged until I was unable to repair them anymore. Once I had it ripped off and found a few miles from home in the woods, and contacting the postal service and the police was a laugh, even though a neighbor saw the car. So I hope I'll find something on here that will help, since my ideas would have possibly have harmed someone, think it's ridiculous that you can get sued when they were doing something they should not have been doing.

whiteoakart2 years ago
You need something that can absorb and transfer the shock. Beware of fortifying it with concrete or thick plate steel. If some dimwit hits it with a baseball bat and it rebounds to knock him unconscious you could be sued. I know it sounds crazy, but it happens.

Use a really sturdy box (built or bought) and make a stand that can flex all the way to ground and stand back up. CatTrampoline's idea would work well.

If you are going to hang it, I would suggest having a chain hang from the bottom, touching the ground with a heavy weight on it. This will help stabilize it, so it doesn't sway out of the way when the delivery person tries to put something inside. But if a snowplow hits it, it can still be knocked out of the way easily.

The hanging from chain idea sounds good.

Another one I have heard of is having the box reinforced (box in a box) and the post on a heavy hinge held up with a spring. The box gets hit, the whole thing tips over and rights itself as the vandals drive away.

As for preventing theft, my hardware store carries a box that can be opened once for the carrier to insert mail but locks when the carrier shuts the door. It must be unlocked with a key and reset by the homeowner before it can be opened again.

Google "locking mailbox" for a selection ranging from moderate price up to "holy cow".

We mostly use a PO box and drop outgoing mail at the Post Office even in the suburbs.
lemonie2 years ago
You could cast a box in concrete, fit a metal-door and padlock.
-Does that sound feasible?

L
ohsewbetty2 years ago
Awww-just to let you know I suffered the other end of this. Lived in an urban city (Hoboken NJ-Yuck!)where my postal worker,Maria refused to take the time to lock our mail in our box. Our neighbors just took it from her/stole it from us on a regular basis. Even though we made several complaints with the post office and police nothing was ever done.

Just wanted to let you know I feel your frustration. We gave up and rented a post office box, but our mail was still "lost" due to all the complaints I had made.

Its sad, but they say "You can't fight City Hall." They mean the Post Office. Good Luck There is really nothing you can do.
Weeeell...it's mean, but I've heard of people getting a bigger mailbox, putting the smaller one inside, and filling the space between with concrete. It's mean because (so I've heard; I've no experience/evidence to back it up) it makes someone break their arm if they hit it with a baseball bat or similar. If they're throwing rocks at it or something, the concrete ought to protect against that...
Oh, ignore me, I sort of neglected to read most of the OP, lol. That wouldn't be terribly helpful with your problems... :(
Do people open it?
caitlinsdad2 years ago
Maybe spend your efforts in trying to catch the criminals. Put up remote surveillance cameras or alarms to notify you when the box is tampered with. I know you want to boobytrap things but usually they don't work out.
panakanic (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago
This mailbox sits out in the middle of nowhere (why the PO put it there to begin with, I don't know! It has been there for over 50 years, though.) There is no electricity so a camera would have to be battery run. The other thing is, while it is vandalized regularly, it is not often enough to justify buying a camera that would probably be stolen, too. I am looking to put it something that is not easily tampered with, knocked down or ripped off. I have a good idea for hanging it from a chain, so if it gets hit by a vehicle, logtruck, or snowplow, it will move out of the way and cause minimal (!) damage... We filed a report with the county sheriff's office, but there isn't much they can/will do. Thanks for the thought, though!