KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
October 28, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
The greater Katy area is still seeing a large amount of mail theft and community-style mailboxes being vandalized. This has recently become a debate among the U.S. Postal Service and local Homeowner’s Associations.
Cinco Ranch mailboxes at Rainbow Bend still on their side after months of neglect.
Resident Complains of Eye-Sore
“Our mail wasn’t stolen, and I don’t know if any mail was taken,” says Mary Wilson of Cinco Ranch. “We thought when we bought into Cinco Ranch it was a nice area but seeing this makes me wonder.”
The mailbox at Rainbow Bend has been laying on the ground for months and residents wonder what to do and how to address it. Postal workers still put mail in these boxes.
“I personally am tired of the eye-sore,” says Wilson, who has tried to email the USPS. with no response.
“I have noticed the mailbox falling apart for several months now,” says Wilson. “I live in a very nice area of Cinco Ranch but this looks like we live in a terrible area.”
Kelliwood and Oak Park Trails residents have both cited cases of community mailboxes being down as long as 6 months before any repairs were done.
This begs the question; who is in charge of maintaining and repairing these community mailboxes.
Who is Responsible?
A Cinco Ranch HOA source says that the U.S. Postal Service isn’t replacing boxes in areas with Homeowner Associations. They have been told that community boxes must be bought by the HOA through an approved vender and then installed by the USPS.
While the USPS didn’t respond to Katy Magazine, they have stressed their commitment to safeguarding mail in previous public statements.
The theft of or tampering of mail is considered a federal crime and those found guilty can receive up to 180 days in jail to 10 years in prison. Judges can also issue a fine from $4,000 to $10,000 and more if mail was stolen from the elderly or disabled.
“This has been an issue for a while now,” says Robert Henslee with Harris County Constables Office, Precinct 5 Ted Heap’s Office. “They gain access to so much mail at one time.”
Harris County Constable's Office, Precinct 5 deal with the after effects of these reported crimes such as credit card theft and identity theft. The crime of the mail theft is handed off to the postmaster.
Back in January, we reported of a similar case in Kelliwood. Residents there had to go to the post office to receive their mail up to 6 months due to, in this case the vandalized community mailbox.
Protect Your Mail
While residents can’t protect their mailboxes, there are some steps they can take to protect their mail.
· Find out when mail gets delivered and pick it up within the hour.
· Have a neighbor pick up your mail if you’re unavailable.
· Request a mail hold when going on vacation or ask a neighbor to collect it.
· Arrange for a private box at the local post office.