Local homeowner's association takes a stand against mail theft

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Residents in the Northwest Bakersfield community of Bellagio say this has been a problem for about a year now, and they're frustrated. So they came up with their own solution to stop mail thefts in their neighborhood.

Residents say they've finally had enough with people breaking into their mailbox and stealing their mail.

"Two weeks ago, we got hit again,” said homeowner’s association president Dennis Schults. “This past Sunday night, they came in and opened them up."

Neighborhood resident Les Collins also shares Schults’ concern.

"It's happening on too much regularity around us and has hit us personally inside a gated community," Collins said.

They reported the break-ins to authorities, and the Postal Service said it was aware of the issue and would investigate. But that wasn't enough for homeowners.

"So we ran an idea past them about enclosing this cluster with our own rigid structure," Schults said.

Schults had a design drawn up and is awaiting approval from the post office. He said it's frustrating, but worth the $5,500 it will cost the homeowners association.

But what about other neighborhoods who don't have the means to build such a structure?

Postal Service representative Jeffrey Fitch said the Postal Service is constantly accessing security and is in the process of upgrading some older locks with newer, more secure locks in theft-prone areas.

For now, Schults said they’re doing what they can on their own. They've invested in cameras and better lighting.

"The whole spectrum is causing frustration for folks that live here,” Schults said. “And we're just trying to mitigate that concern as much as we can."

Postal service representatives say the best thing to do is to collect mail daily and report any instances of theft directly via their 24-hour hotline at 877-876-2455.

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