Open Discussion: Bring back the mailboxes to the East L.A. post office

East L.A. resident C.J Salgado says the curb-side mail boxes at the East Los Angeles branch post office on Atlantic Boulevard were removed after recent thefts. He said another solution is needed:

Be honest—did you notice? The curbside mailboxes in front of the East Los Angeles Branch Post Office (975 S. Atlantic Blvd., East LA, 90022) disappeared a few weeks ago. Granted, electronic mail is more of the norm nowadays; but, nevertheless, I was surprised when I tried to drop off some mail at the drive-by mailbox there and instead  found an empty spot where they used to be. After a few such times of having to park and walk into the Post Office to drop off mail, I decided enough was enough and inquired on the missing boxes.

It turns out the mailboxes (or “Blue Box collection boxes” in postal lingo) were removed as a consequence of mail theft. Apparently, the mailboxes were tampered with and mail was stolen. Who would dare steal mail! Nothing is sacred these days of lingering recession. Those unlucky ones whose mail was stolen would have been understandably upset. I know because it happened to me more than once from these very same boxes.

However, the U.S. Postal Service® ought to reconsider its decision to not replace the mailboxes despite the thefts. That seems a bit extreme to me, and is more of a capitulation to the misdeeds of a few rather than a real solution to the problem. These boxes serve a purpose and provide convenience to many customers, particularly being conveniently located on the way to the I-5 freeway entrance. I urge the Postal Service to explore ways of enhancing security of these boxes so that they may be replaced and continue to serve. We wouldn’t have ATMs if we gave up that easily.

The Postal Service needs to hear from the community if it’s to replace the mailboxes. I encourage others to contact them in support of keeping our boxes. You can call to register your comments on this issue with their “Consumer Affairs” office at 323-586-1250, “Customer Service” hotline 800-275-8777, or website www.usps.com. Yes, you may experience a delay in getting thru to make your comment, no surprise there, but it’s important to retain this little amenity in our community … not like we have that many around in the first place.

Photo by cjc4454/Flickr


  1. Good Luck when you call, our Post Offices look so bad that the post workers dont care, just look at the BH branches, thats why thefts happens, we need to call our congressperson and request he,her to do their mail on our local Post offices, maybe we can have a change……

  2. To update you on this issue- As of today, personnel at the East LA post office indicated to me that the curbside mailboxes will not be replaced due to the “high-volume of theft.”

    Community input is critical to sway their decision, if we care about this issue.

    Mail theft is bad, no doubt, but I believe they should explore other options like installing more secure boxes. This can’t be an issue unique to East LA. To make it worse, the lobby stamp machine at this post office was also recently removed.

    I encourage members of the East LA community to let the post office know these amenities do matter to our community and are worthy of the issue being explored more fully. Also, you can contact “Elena” at Congresswoman Napolitano’s district office at 562-801-2134 about this issue.

    The time to speak out about this is now…

  3. Dealing with mail theft is not a new thing. We have to face it and deal with it. Removing the collection mail boxes as a measure seems to be very extreme. ELA is not the only community facing this problem. I work in the city of Montebello and we had the same problem too. The post office of Montebello installed safety bolts in their boxes to avoid these thefts, which are normally done with what they call “mouse traps”. City of Norwalk for example, dealing with the same issue, installed some sort of safety nets in the mail boxes. So, is it because we are not a “city”? Are we not raising our complaints or needs loud enough?
    This is just another service, a right to our community.

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