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BC FORUM News - from The Advocate, Spring 2015

‘Super’ mailboxes are not all that secure

After thieves targeted some old community mailboxes four times, Canada Post finally replaced them with a new model which is supposed to be secure.

It didn’t work, and many people are now concerned about identity theft, a malicious crime that places huge legal costs on victims as they try to clear their good name.

In the Grandview Heights neighbourhood of Surrey, two entire community mailboxes were stolen – on the same day Canada Post announced it was ending door-to-door delivery to 5,000 homes in Ladner.

“They must have used a winch to pull them from the base,” says Stephen Gale, local president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Thieves usually break into individual compartments in the mailboxes. In this case, they simply ripped them from the ground and took them away.

The mailboxes were the same style that will be installed in Ladner.

“It sends a bit of a mixed message because these are the newer boxes that Canada post has been installing,” said Gale.

“It’s an interesting message to the people of Ladner – how secure is your mail going to be in these new, ‘more secure’ boxes?”

Gale is clear that the object of the crime is identity theft.

“They get enough information from the mail to steal people’s identity,” he said.

Gale questions why Canada Post would end door-to-door delivery when it’s clear that thefts from community mailboxes are increasing significantly.

The problem is particularly acute Let’s make Harper face the music on mail delivery in B.C.

“We see different numbers, but anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of all the community mailbox thefts in Canada occur in B.C.,” said Gale.

“A large portion of that is in the Lower Mainland. Surrey and Langley are definitely the worst. It’s pretty much constant and it’s really risen in the past year,” he said.

With the support of the Harper government, Canada Post announced the end of door-to-door delivery and huge increases in postage in December 2013.

The crown corporation said the steps were needed to cut costs.

However, Gale says the many residents he has spoken with are almost unanimously in favour of continuing door-to-door delivery.

“The whole plan was about money,” says Gale.

“They created this doom and gloom scenario, but they’ve reported a $13 million profit in the third quarter, and $53 million in the second quarter.”

Gale, who is a mail carrier in White Rock, says door-to-door delivery is clearly the most secure.

“When I deliver the mail, I know people are going to get it,” he said. “It’s secure inside their doors.”

Gale says the union will continue to work with residents and local politicians to try to convince Canada Post to maintain door-to-door delivery.

“When we talk to Canada Post about the issue, they think it’s just the union battling for jobs. For me, it’s upsetting. When I deliver the mail I want to make sure it’s still there when people go to get it,” he said.

 

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