A growing number of robbers and burglars have been breaking into homes through the letterbox in the front door.
A letterbox is commonly a metal flap in your front door that allows the mailman to drop the mail inside of your home. Letterboxes are usually about six to eight inches wide and one to two inches tall. In the United States, many of the older homes still have letterboxes, whereas the majority of the rest of the homes use a post office box or mailbox. Almost all homes and buildings in Great Britain use letterboxes, and they’re also common throughout western Europe.
Front door letterboxes are excellent for mail security. As long as your mailman delivers you the correct mail, and it can fit through the metal slot, then it’s extremely unlikely that somebody could steal your mail as anybody could in an ordinary mailbox. The mail goes through the slot and either falls into a container or lands on the floor, safely out of reach of a mail thief.
For privacy concerns, letterboxes are very bad. Most of them do not lock. It’s very easy to walk up to a home with one and simply lift the flap and look inside the home. This could be used to spy on people, determine if somebody is home, or use it to break into your home.
Breaking into a home through a letterbox requires a burglar using a long rod to reach into the home and either unlock a door or window, or basically using the rod as a fishing pole and using it to grab a set of keys that may be on a nearby table or hanging on a wall. Burglars have recently been going on a crime spree and breaking into homes by reaching in through the letterbox.
Keeping your letterbox opening and front door secure
If you have a letterbox and are concerned about your privacy, the best thing to do is to buy a small latch and manually lock the inner flap of the letterbox after you receive your mail. Of course, this requires you to be home to lock it, and if you forget to unlock it you will not receive your mail.
NOTE – You should check and see if it’s legal in your area to lock the letterbox.
You may also want to modify the inside flap so that it can only open part way. This will still let the mail be inserted, but the burglar will have very limited access. Make the burglar only reach down, instead of up, straight, or to the sides.
NOTE – Make sure it is legal to modify the letterbox in your area. Also, if the inner flap cannot open large enough, then magazines and large envelopes may not fit through the opening.
Ultimately, the best ways to protect your front door are to install a bump-proof double cylinder deadbolt and to keep spare keys out of sight from any windows. Many people like to hang spare house keys and car keys by the doors for quick and easy access, but burglars can reach inside with a long rod or even fishing pole, and steal the keys through a letterbox or open or broken window. If you’re going to keep keys by doors, make sure they are out of sight at all times. The bump-proof double cylinder deadbolt will make it exponentially harder for intruders to break in through your door without causing significant noise and damage.
Remember, the harder you make it to break into your home, then the less likely it is that you’ll be robbed. Burglars commonly want to hit the homes with weak or no security. Making them work for it and stay exposed will increase their chances of getting caught. Make them move on to a different home instead of yours!