City Examining Proposal to Cut Down on Mail Theft

The City of San Antonio says it will support measures in the 2019 Legislature to make theft or attempted theft of mail a state felony, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

While San Antonio Police say reports of mailbox thefts are down 52% since the department stepped up enforcement operations, it remains a growing concern, especially in neighborhoods which are served by those 'cluster' mailboxes, where dozens of families walk up to get their mail at a common mailbox.

"First off, they're ticked that somebody stole their mail," said northwest side Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who has been pushing for more investigation of this issue for months.  "People are also upset at the time it takes to get the mailbox replaced, which could be months."

Mail theft has become a more serious crime because mail not only frequently involves checks and other payments, but mail also includes credit card numbers, and personal information which can be used to steal a person's identity.

Police Chief Bill McManus says the shifting jurisdictions between local police and federal postal inspectors make it more difficult to investigate these crimes, and a measure that would have designated mail theft to be a state offense, which would give his officers more leeway, failed in the 2017 session.

"The City is supporting this legislation in this year's legislative agenda, so we'll see if we can push that through again this year," he said.

The City is also considering code changes to protect mailboxes, including requiring developers to install better lighting and surveillance cameras around 'cluster' mailboxes, and to require that the boxes themselves be made of materials which are more difficult for thieves to pry into with a crowbar.


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