Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/12/2014 (2123 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BRANDON -- A community mailbox was pried open by vandals this week, leaving residents not only inconvenienced but concerned about protecting personal information.
The multi-unit mailboxes are currently being installed throughout Manitoba, replacing postal home delivery. They were initially promoted as being secure from theft.
Officers found Wednesday one group of Brandon boxes had been broken into, while the culprits were unsuccessful in their attempt to force open a second block of boxes.
Police say they don't know if anything was stolen from the mailboxes, located near Cornell Bay.
Sgt. Dallas Lockhart said an incident such as this is rare in Brandon.
"This is something that I don't think we've seen for many, many years, where a mailbox has been targeted," he said.
The mailbox is taped up and has a sign posted that says mail delivery will be suspended "until further notice." Residents must now pick up their mail at the Douglas Street office, near the eastern edge of the city. Fifteen mailboxes were in the portion that was pried open. The entire unit has about 40 mailboxes.
"What an inconvenience, and what a problem," said Coun. Jan Chaboyer. "I think that the city should have a dialogue with Canada Post on this service they're providing."
The nationwide conversion to community mailboxes is expected to be complete by 2019.
Chaboyer recently brought up the issue of community mailboxes at a city council meeting, as residents have expressed safety concerns about placement of new mailboxes in other areas.
"You want it to be somewhere accessible for anyone, if they're in a wheelchair or whatever, and you want it safe," she said. "Lighting is important too, because you can't even see...which box is yours -- that's how dark it is in some areas."
The councillor would like the city to meet with Canada Post to discuss placement of mailboxes, safety and what the protocol is when a box is closed down or damaged.
Seniors advocate Dayle Hughson said there are many concerns regarding community mailboxes, especially with the recent break-in.
"If Canada Post is no longer delivering mail to people's homes, then thieves will know exactly where to go to break into people's mailboxes to look for cheques, money and any valuable items that might be shipped through the mail," she said.
Hughson said she's "not totally convinced" the mailboxes are secure.
"A good crowbar could break into them," she said. "I would think if they can break into one, they can break into any of them."
Asking people to pick up their mail in the east end is very difficult for those with disabilities and elderly people who don't have vehicles, she added.
"I don't understand how they think people are going to get there," she said, adding offering a pickup at postal outlets, such as a Sobeys store, would make much more sense.
"We take the security of the mail very seriously and unfortunately are not immune to criminal activities," Canada Post spokeswoman Anick Losier said in an email.
The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.
Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.