Baseball season is delayed for now but mailbox baseball season looks like it’s already underway in Schuylkill County.
According to State Police in Schuylkill Haven, two separate incidents of mailbox damage were reported in the overnight hours of April 13 and 14.
Mailboxes Damaged in West Brunswick Township
One incident occurred on Oak Lane in the township. Police say multiple mailboxes were hit in the same housing development there. Sometime between 10:30 p.m. on the 13th and 6:30 a.m. on the 14th.
Police believe the person or people who damaged these mailboxes did so in a vehicle.
And then in another incident on the same night, a mailbox also on Oak Lane was damaged.
Police are not connecting these incidents. However, it’s likely the same people committed these separately reported incidents.
In the second report, the mailbox is described as a Whitehall Streetside Mailbox valued at $268.
If you have any information on these incidents, you’re asked to call the Haven barracks of Pennsylvania State Police.
Anyone with information on the second incident should contact Trooper Christian Reistroffer and reference incident no. PA2020-512073.
Mailbox Vandalism is a Federal Offense
Some may consider cracking a mailbox with a baseball bat or some other weapon to be some rite of passage. Did you know, however, that damaging a mailbox is considered a federal offense?
According to the US Postal Service, someone caught damaging a mailbox could be hit with a $250,000 fine for each box. The crime also could land a person in prison for 3 years for each box.
How to Prevent Mailbox Vandalism and Stop Mailbox Baseball
Mailbox baseball is the popular term given to the act of crushing mailboxes with a baseball bat. Often, one person in a passing vehicle holds a baseball bat out of a vehicle window. As they pass by a mailbox, generally in more remote areas, they wind up and swing for the fences.
If you’re the victim of mailbox vandalism and thus not a fan of mailbox baseball, NationalMailboxes.com suggests you take several steps to recoup your losses and prevent future damage:
File a Police Report
The first thing you should do if you’re a victim of mailbox vandalism is report it to local police, or state police in the absence of a local unit.
With a police report, a homeowner has a better chance of recouping their losses with an insurance claim. The insurance companies are going to want a copy of that report.
If you’ve purchased a mailbox recently, you know they often carry a considerable price tag, especially for a sturdy or aesthetically pleasing one. Look at that one victim in West Brunswick … that had a price tag of $268. Not cheap!
Report Mailbox Vandalism to US Postal Service
In addition to filing a police report, victims of mailbox vandalism should also file a report with the US Postal Service.
You can fill out an online form here: https://ehome.uspis.gov/mailtheft/vandalize.aspx
Victims may be able to get a Label 33 sticker from their local post office. This sticker gets applied to a mailbox to discourage would-be vandals and tell others where and how to report a vandalism incident.
Get a Reinforced Mailbox
A reinforced mailbox might set you back a few bucks but if you live in rural areas where these incidents often occur, it could be worth the investment.
Reinforced mailboxes are made of tougher materials and have security features around their locks to prevent mail theft.
You can look online for specialty stores that market their own brand of reinforced mailboxes. Some of them can take a beating:
Here’s a look at one option available on Amazon for just under $100:
In addition to getting a stronger mailbox, make sure you reinforce mounting post and don’t skimp on the installation hardware.
Now, we’ve heard that some people will fill mailbox posts with cement. That’ll keep the post upright but doesn’t do much for the box itself. You could also go this route:
Install Security Devices
You can go the extra mile if you’re a constant victim of mailbox vandalism and put a security camera where it can view your mailbox. Remember, though, we’ve seen numerous surveillance videos that turn out looking grainy or fuzzy, so if you do invest in a camera, make sure you clean it. It won’t do much good if you’ve got video that no one can see.