The U.S. Postal Service said Saturday that it is changing many mailboxes on Long Island to deter mail fishing by thieves.
Both the Huntington and Huntington Station outdoor mailboxes have been changed over to a style that offers a narrow slot that allows the deposit only of thin envelopes. The changeover also means they are no longer usable from vehicles.
The deposit of an misdelivered envelope that appeared to be a credit card offer needed an extra shove to fit through the slot in the new box at the Gerard Street location.
UPDATED: And though mailboxes at both post offices have the newer design, only the Gerard Street boxes seem to have been turned around completely. But the Huntington Station boxes are no longer accessible from a car because they are set back too far for the driver to reach the slots.
“The Postal Service is aggressively addressing concerns for theft and tampering at collection boxes,” the agency said Saturday. “This can have serious consequences for those who deposit mail into boxes that are damaged by these criminals. Our actions, with guidance from the Postal Inspection Service, includes placing high-security boxes in some locations.”
A Post Office spokeswoman said, in response to questions about access for the disabled, said, “We will certainly welcome conversations with disabled customers to discuss how best we can accommodate their need to deposit mail. Remember, you can use your home and most business sites or hand mail to a letter carrier.
“We recognize it is a change and do not take this lightly. However, the need to keep your mail safe and secure is an important consideration.”
The smaller slots would apparently also prevent the deposit of mail the Post Office has determined too large for the boxes and has to be brought to a counter.
“While we apologize for the inconvenience, there is no replacement for the long-neck snorkel style box. When deemed necessary to replace for security, as in this case, we use what tools are currently available to protect the mail,” the spokeswoman said.
Thieves have been using string to lower a sticky item into collection boxes, which attaches to mail which can then be reeled back out of the box.