Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 6:20 pm | Fair 72º


Local News

Postal Service Removes Drop-off Mailboxes to Cut Costs

Residents were left wondering where the boxes had gone after they suddenly started disappearing

It looms on the post office community bulletin board like a notice from the Wild West.

“Wanted By U.S. Postal Inspectors,” the poster reads in large, red letters, and even offers a $10,000 reward. All that’s missing is a mugshot of a perpetrator of “residential mailbox attacks.”

The U.S. Postal Service takes mail theft, which is a felony offense, very seriously. It was not as outspoken, however, with the disappearance of local drop-off mailboxes.

The removal of lesser-used boxes was an attempt to save money, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service office in Pasadena.

The boxes were removed months ago, but were not taken out haphazardly, said a Santa Barbara post office supervisor, who wasn’t authorized to give his name.

In a two-week survey, mail carriers counted each piece of mail in the boxes to find which had the most use, he said. Those that didn’t make the cutoff — with an average of fewer than 50 pieces a day — were removed.

“Like everyone else, we’re downsizing,” the supervisor said.

People have been calling the post office and posting comments on Noozhawk wondering about the mailboxes.

“We’ve put a couple of them back because people requested it,” the supervisor said. In addition, a street-side drop-off box was added in front of the Anacapa Street post office downtown.

Other cities have been employing the same strategy in efforts to cut back during the economy’s downturn. The Los Angeles area had more than 900 mailboxes removed in late February, according to the Los Angeles Times. Like Santa Barbara, box traffic was evaluated, and those receiving fewer than 25 pieces a day were deemed economically unfeasible.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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