Protecting my curbside mail box.

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  #1  
Old 08-29-18, 05:09 AM
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Protecting my curbside mail box.

I had a car crash through my front yard. Right after I got that mess fixed, someone ran into my mailbox. The mailbox survived, the mailbox post did not. Unfortunately, I did not know the mailbox post had rebar in the concrete. I was able to remove my mailbox post, eventually. My neighbors have had to replace their mailbox almost every other year.

I spent about $600 on my mailbox and post. The post is a surface mount. The mailbox is made of 1/4" steel. I want it to be secure. I also live in a high crime neighborhood.

I'm interested in coming up with a way to protect my mailbox from another collision. I also want to make sure it is not stolen. Any ideas?

Thank you.

-JJ

PS First picture is my mailbox after being hit, the 2nd picture is the post I will mount my mailbox on.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-29-18, 05:28 AM
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Look into swing away mailbox posts. My youngest son lives on a narrow road with a drop off at the edge so his mailbox is real close to the pavement. It got hit several times a year and had to be replaced about once a year. I installed a swing away mailbox post 4-5 yrs ago and he still has the same box.

Here is an example https://www.swingclear.com/
 
  #3  
Old 08-29-18, 06:02 AM
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A difficult project. They recently installed sidewalks on the other side of my street where my mailbox is located and now, in addition to cars hitting it (on my 3rd one in two years) a pedestrians who isn't paying attention can walk right into it and that brings me to your post, it may be too solid. Personally, I would prefer an expansive socket in the ground with a breakaway post securely inserted. Easy to replace and at least an attempt to limit injury should someone or a bicycle run into it. Today they sue for any reason.

Bud
 
  #4  
Old 08-29-18, 06:27 AM
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I am not advocating that you do what we did because as Bud noted, in today's backwards society, people can & will sue for any reason, even when its their fault, but maybe my story will help spark ideas from yourself or others here.

Again, times are much different than they were back in the 60's & 70's but we lived in a rural area outside of town & about once a year we were buying a new mail box because people were using mailboxes along the road for target practice with coke/beer bottles. Occasionally someone would take out the box & post with their car.

We eventually got tired of this & we got our hands on an old light/power pole. We cut it into a 6' or 7' piece & dug a post hole about 4' deep, put that post in there. This had to be in the late 60's or early 70's. We have changed a few mail boxes since but, seriously, that mail box post is still there. I wont elaborate on bumpers & fenders.
 
  #5  
Old 08-29-18, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jjthomas-diy
I'm interested in coming up with a way to protect my mailbox from another collision.
I also want to make sure it is not stolen. Any ideas?
I'm along a high traffic suburban state route, cars and snowplows commonly wipeout mailboxes.

Neighbor 1 door down has an inner round wooden post in the ground, with a outer steel post holding the mailbox, and a diagonal spring connecting them. Road is at 12 o'clock, and the outer post rotates 90 degrees to 3 o'clock to get mail, and flex when hit by heavy snow from state plow trucks.

Neighbor 3 doors down is a welder, he turned a 100 lbs propane tank into a giant Romper-Room Weeble with a mailbox on top. Poured 40 lbs of concrete into the bottom so that if you hit it, it just rights itself.
 
  #6  
Old 08-29-18, 11:46 AM
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  #7  
Old 08-29-18, 03:13 PM
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An immovable mailbox might leave you open to litigation. Some locales have outlawed the big hefty mailboxes and have mandated break away posts to limit damage/injury to the idiots that hit them.
 
  #8  
Old 08-29-18, 04:33 PM
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Go with the swing away mail box. Sure people can sue for anything, but that doesn't mean they will win. What is the difference if they walk into a non moving mail box vs a swing away mailbox. If you're drunk, you're drunk! You can't fix stupid.
 
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Old 08-29-18, 04:42 PM
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+1 Marksr... I was thinking the exact same thing. The post office or city may have regulations most people don't know or care to follow.
 
  #10  
Old 08-29-18, 04:49 PM
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I've seen LOTS of similar situations, "um, we poured a new sidewalk, you people are on your own for the mailbox" with new construction. I'm a Realtor, you get used to this sort of thing...

The most common fixes are
A) classy- an antique steel milk can filled with a bit of concrete, and construction glue to hold it to the sidewalk.
B) basic - a wooden post in a 5 gallon bucket filled with concrete.

In between, I've seen
C) "christmas story" leg lamp (that lights up),
D) four foot tall hand-carved wooden middle finger,
E) various old farm equipment,
F) bicycles,
G) old tow chains tack-welded into solid loops,
H) a plymouth 727 transmission case,
I) four coil springs welded together to make a bouncy-mailbox

If you get miscreant foot traffic, then one common solution is to drive a short piece of rebar into the expansion gap between the curb and sidewalk, bend the top into an eye, and use that to secure the mailbox in place with a chain or a lag bolt into the wooden base.
 
  #11  
Old 08-29-18, 05:01 PM
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Thank you for all your answers.

I don't think the Swing Away will work, I should have added that this is a curbside mailbox. Also, the mailbox weighs about 100 pounds, I'm not sure it will support the weight. But I'll save the URL, it has given me a couple of ideas.

I bought my house a few years ago, the litigation has been on my mind, due to the previous concrete pedestal. But since I moved here, I've been seeing mailbox after mailbox getting remounted on steel posts.

I did look into the laws regarding mailbox installation. In a nutshell, they say see the USPS for how to mount the mailbox. The USPS gives instruction to, basically, mount it so the carrier can reach it from the curb. The only restriction I found is I have to a permit to drill more the 12" through the sidewalk, uhm maybe. Like everything else legal, it's confusing as all get out!

I've thought about putting a three-foot "K-rail" in front of the mailbox. I can hear that conversation with my lawyer.

I do like the mailbox in the tractor idea. But around here they would steal it in about a week.

I am thinking that I will mount the post to the concrete and then put an inch of concrete over the screw heads to keep one of the many local meathheads from trying to steal the whole thing.

-JJ
 
  #12  
Old 08-29-18, 05:08 PM
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>>> You can't fix stupid.
But stupid can sue.

>>> If you get miscreant foot traffic, then one common solution is to drive a short piece of rebar
I like. I also like "D" but I'm sure that would get me a summons.
 
  #13  
Old 08-29-18, 05:34 PM
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I also live in a high crime neighborhood.
Have you considered getting a P.O. Box and not continuing to deal with these issues?
 
  #14  
Old 08-29-18, 05:35 PM
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If you can discretely locate a camera to monitor the mail box then perhaps identify the miscreant and get him/her eliminated. I say discretely because pointing at the street can make neighbors across the road or next door nervous. One neighbor a few miles out was having neighbor problems so he hid a camera in a bird house. Yes, ended up in court and had to point his camera away from that house. So be clever.

Bud
 
  #15  
Old 08-29-18, 06:15 PM
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One neighbor a few miles out was having neighbor problems so he hid a camera in a bird house. Yes, ended up in court and had to point his camera away from that house.
Wow! Our neighborhood (especially me and my son-in-law) have cams that point in our front drive , but can see all houses across the street. Our neighbors seem to appreciate the monitoring.
 

Last edited by Norm201; 08-29-18 at 06:55 PM.
  #16  
Old 08-30-18, 05:53 AM
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>>> Have you considered getting a P.O. Box and not continuing to deal with these issues?
Given that I have $600 invested in this project, a few weeks of labor (drilling concrete is no fun) oh and another $300 in cordless hammer drills... I really want to see this through. I have been giving that idea a lot of thought, though.

PS the Ryboi P222 and Bosch masonry bits got the job done <--I work for neither company, in any capacity.

A camera is on my list of projects. Next summer?

Thank you, again.

-JJ
 
  #17  
Old 08-30-18, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051
If you can discretely locate a camera to monitor the mail box then perhaps identify the miscreant and get him/her eliminated.
Well, a little axle grease smeared on it works...


For years, I'dget ~20 paper political campaign signs to put out.
I volunteer at the polls, and am a party committee person.
Most signs then were really thin card board, the rain would soak through, and they'd tear through the top ridge after the first hard rain.

Spring and fall elections coincide with car/lawn tractor tune ups, after using old campaign signs under a grease gun, I realized that a little axle grease along the top of the sign water proofs the sign, and they last for weeks.

Also found out that it's a VERY effective sign-theif deterrent, as about midnight I heard a very loud "eew, what the F(&^% man !!" from somebody who had slowed down to grab campaign signs and wasn't expecting axle grease...

Could be as simple as making a permenant "caution wet paint" sticker...
 
  #18  
Old 08-30-18, 06:20 AM
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I really like the idea of catching the jerks, especially if it is one or two doing all of the damage in the neighborhood. Otherwise it becomes a game, you make it stronger so they hit it harder. You've thrown down the challenge with this box and post so we will see what their next move is.

Short story. The bell system had created a pick proof pay phone (remember those) and immediately got an order from someone in south America where bandits were stealing everything, All went well for a few months and then he placed a another order and said it was a replacement. Curious the engineers contacted him to find out why. Seems the pick proof worked perfect, the failure was due to a half stick of dynamite.

I never did hear the rest of that story.

Bud
 
  #19  
Old 08-30-18, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jjthomas-diy
I'm interested in coming up with a way to protect my mailbox from another collision.
I also want to make sure it is not stolen.
Any ideas?

1-Concrete a 4" x 4" square steel receiver about 8" into the ground.
2- Use a a pair of two foot long wooden 2x4s as "shear pins"
3- Slide the 4"x4" post down over the wooden shear pins.
4-- pre-drill two hole in the receiver and post so that a single U-bolt goes through both the receiver holes and the post holes, If the post shears, the U bolt keeps them connected.

That way, you've got an armor- plate mailbox and an armor-plate post. They should survive any colission,
and the end result is your armored mail box gets knocked over, all you have to do is replace a pair of 2x4s and bend a U-bolt back into shape.


This is just adapting DOT street sign "shear pin" design. Street signs are designed to get run over and replaced. They have a square steel base set in concrete, a smaller steel post that slides into the receiver,
and a bolt holds it in place.

To adapt that to an armored mail box, I'd get a piece of 6"-12" long square steel tubing the same internal size as your armor-plated post, and make that into a "receiver" in the sidewalk.
A pair of 2x4s about 1.5' to 2' long act as shear pins and connect the 4" steel channel receiver to the 4" steel channel fort knox mailbox.

One twist that I'd add is that, instead of 2 different shear pins, I'd use a single U-bolt, that way, even if the shear pins break, the U-bolt continues to connect the the receiver and the post/mailbox with thick steel.

To deter miscreants, I'd use a tamper proof nut on the threads of the U-bolt, AND I'd drill the holes tso that the bolts are pointing out towards the road. That way, anybody who tries to unscrew the bolts ends up standing in the street, which deters most idiots.

To distract miscreants, Id lock a combination lock onto U-bolt's "U" section.
This does absolutely NOTHING for security, but it gives the miscreants something distracting to play with; and its something that they play with, get tired of, and move on.

  • TANGENT - apocryphal story

    Every summer, Philadelphia gets a rash of "distraction theft" cases.
    A pair of people with clipboards show up on the stoop or front porch, the claim to be "from the water dept electric dept/ cable company/ city inspections" and here to read the meter or inspect;; or somtimes the pair are offering a free estimate on roofing/ grass cutting/ landscaping/ driveway sealing.

    What actually happens is that while crook #1 and crook #2 are distracting the homeowner in the basement or yard; crook #3 and crook #4 going through the house looking for valuables.

    About 2 years ago, the biggest ring was busted, thanks to one-little-old-sicilian-lady.
    Here's how.

    Crook #1 and Crook #2 show up at the door, with clipboards and knock on the door.
    Nonna Antonella answers the door, with the slide chain in place so you can't come in.
    "Hello mam, it's hot out here, can we come inside, get a glass of water, and to talk to you about your (water/cable/electric/gas)?"

    Nonna Antonella politely says "oh, you poor kids, let me get you some ice water and lemoncello (but leaves the slide chain in). Nonna comes back with four glasses,
    Hands two glasses through the door gap.
    "Here's a big glass of ice water from the tap. That should cool you down."

    Crook #1 and #2 drink, because August in Philly is damn hot.
    -Thank you mam, can we come in?- (hands the water glasses back)

    "Oh, no hurry, sorry but the door chain is stuck, Now don't tell my husband, but here's a little glass with some lemoncello that's been in the freezer for months. This should perk you up."

    Nonna hands them two shot glasses through the door gap.

    Crook #1 and #2 drink, because Sicilian lemoncello in August in Philly is damn refreshing.
    -Thank you mam, can we come in?- (hands the lemocello glasses back)

    After a minute, Nonna says "sorry dear, but I'm not interested right now, you'll have to talk to my husband."

    Then stops and follows up with
    "You're such good kids, thanks for the offer, You know, it would be a shame if anything got stolen from this neighborhood. Thanks for your fingerprints..."

So, you might include a snarky "thanks for your fingerprints" bumpersticker on the mailbox post...
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 08-30-18 at 09:56 AM.
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