The humble letterbox is something that many people don’t give a second thought to, except when they hear the post being delivered through it. But the letterbox is a crucial part of your home security and homeowners should take precautions to ensure it is as secure as possible.
Identity theft – where somebody steals the personal details of someone else and uses it for criminal activities, such as applying fraudulently for credit cards – is a growing problem in the UK. One way criminals can get the data is by stealing another person’s post and getting their details from that. This is something that can cost people thousands of pounds, as well as ruining their credit score as well as the time – and stress – it takes to sort out.
Likewise, ‘fishing’ crimes – where criminals poke a long stick with a piece of wire on the end of it through a letterbox to hook house or car keys – are also on the rise.
These crimes are reported to the police thousands of times per year in the UK – although the real figure is probably higher as not every case is reported – and shows why letterbox security should be taken seriously by everyone.
So how do you ensure your letterbox is as secure as possible? Read our handy tips to find out!
Out of sight, out of mind
If you have a letterbox integrated into your front door, then there are a number of ways you can make it more secure. But perhaps the easiest things to do is to ensure your valuables are out of sight of the letterbox. If a thief cannot see or reach a set of keys or a wallet, for example, then they are more likely to give up and move on to another property.
There are also a range of options that can be fitted to a letterbox to make it more secure. For instance, there are cowls or guards that can be fitted, which mean that any would-be thief cannot see inside your home and nor can they stick their hand or any tools inside. Likewise, a cage fits around the internal side of the letterbox and prevents thieves putting hands or tools inside. It also stops post falling to the floor, which is good for people who may suffer from back problems.
There are also specific anti-theft letterboxes on the market from a number of providers. It is recommended that if you invest in one of these you get it professionally installed to ensure that the box’s security is as comprehensive as possible. These are an expensive option, but is an investment if you are worried about theft.
Of course, ‘fishing’ and such crimes where tools or arms are inserted through the letterbox to gain access to a property can be eliminated entirely if you have a wall-mounted letterbox instead. These are usually fixed to the wall at the front of a property and have a letterbox plate through which post is delivered, which falls into a lockable box underneath.
When buying a wall-mounted letterbox, it is important to remember to ensure it is large enough to accommodate your post – for example, if you subscribe to a magazine, most are A4-sized. If it is left sticking out, then it can be stolen. Even if your details aren’t stolen, not having your favourite magazine is annoying.
Of course, it is important to ensure that the lock on the letterbox is as secure as possible. Some use traditional keys, but these can be picked. It is worth thinking about investing in anti-snap locks for these, which are much more difficult for thieves to break, as the name suggests.
If your wall-mounted letterbox has a lock with a padlock on it, then ensure the padlock is chunky and there is as little of the loop exposed, which makes it more difficult for a thief to use bolt cutters to break it.
You should also ensure that the letterbox is weatherproof and won’t rust over time, which can compromise its security. It also needs to be properly secured to the wall with long screws to ensure that it cannot be easily prised off the wall with a crowbar, for example.
As usual with security devices for the home, there is an element of ‘you get what you pay for’. There is a wide array of wall-mounted letterboxes on the market, with prices ranging from below £100 to well over £600 – but it depends what you want and need. As ever, it is always worth doing your research before committing to buy.
While these are more common in the US, free-standing letterboxes are seen in the UK, especially in properties that have a long driveway or are gated. Like wall-mounted letterboxes, it is important to ensure that the letterbox has a substantial lock or padlock on it that cannot be easily or quickly picked or broken.
It should also be securely fixed to a gatepost or the ground, to ensure that it cannot be easily lifted away by any potential thief.
While no solution is ever 100% secure, if you follow these tips for making your letterbox – whatever sort you own – more secure, it should substantially reduce the chances of being a victim of crimes such as identity theft or fishing and give you valuable peace of mind, something that a value cannot be put on.
If you want more information about home security, or on the best sort of locks to use in wall-mounted or free-standing letterboxes, give Inta-lock Locksmiths in Leicester a call. Our experienced and highly trained locksmiths are experts in all types of locks and can provide impartial advice on the best type to fit for your needs. They can also fit those locks for you for a price that is competitive with any other locksmith operating in the Leicester area. Call us today for more information and a non-obligation quote on 0116 4422084 or email firstname.lastname@example.org