A smashed mailbox is a hassle and expense that gives homeowners a headache. Whether it's bludgeoned into submission or blown up for fun, the wanton destruction of property distresses postal customers and takes up valuable law enforcement resources. A destroyed mailbox is vandalism; as such, the smasher can be prosecuted for a crime. Whether young or old, mailbox smashers are a pain, so it's good to know how to deal with them properly.
Call the Police
Law enforcement will, at least, write up a report for your damaged property so that you can get insurance reimbursement. Calling the police is a necessary step for repeat attacks, since it's probable that you're the target of foul play. Police do take these calls seriously and will even question neighbors and keep a lookout for suspects in order to get to the bottom of the problem, so don't be scared to speak up.
Tell Your Local Postmaster
In one case in Upper Bucks Country, Pa., reported online at phillyBurbs.com, an amateur bomber struck a residential mailbox. Because of the violence of the attack, the Postal Service got involved. The postmaster general put out an alert for the criminal and said that "this criminal act is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years imprisonment." The Postal Service's robust law enforcement division has added manpower that also cracks down on mailbox vandalism.
Buy a Reinforced Mailbox
If your mailbox has been smashed, it's time to purchase a new model. Instead of buying another run-of-the-mill mailbox, purchase one that's made to withstand hooliganism. There are companies that make mailboxes to order, complete with super-strong features and locks that will withstand the most determined criminal. While these mailboxes cost more, they're worth the investment for the peace of mind.
Trap the Vandal
If you've been targeted by mailbox vandals, the taste of revenge can be sharp. There are a few ways to make the hooligan pay. One is to fill the mailbox with concrete, which will mean discomfort and possible injury to someone hitting it with a blunt object, like a bat. Another is to rig a small motion-sensitive video camera focused on the replacement mailbox. Often, a vandal can't resist striking the same address twice, so it's possible that you can put a face with a crime - and get some justice in the end.