Summertime blues bring mailbox bashings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 13, 2000

Features Editor

July 12, 2000 10 PM

Waking up to a bashed-in mailbox is not a pretty sight and neither is it a way to start the day.

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Unfortunately for Jean Starling, she has started far too many days that way.

But until a few days ago, she thought maybe the bashers had gotten their jollies and put their bats away. Then, she woke up to find her new mailbox battered.

"Someone had bashed in my old mailbox so I had to put up another one," Starling said. "I decided to leave up the old box to help protect the new one. A basher came along and hit the old box and knocked it into the new one, denting it and knocking it askew. Now, I have two bashed-in boxes in front of my house."

Starling said mailbox bashing has been a problem around Troy for quite a while. However, there will be stretches of time when all is quiet on the homefront. Then, the all too familiar "night sounds" will start again.

"From what I’ve heard, bashing is going on in several neighborhoods around Troy," she said. "It’s not just limited to my area so I believe it’s getting to be a real problem again. People need to be aware of it and report any incidents that occur."

Starling said homeowners often just chalk mailbox bashing up to youthful mischief without realizing it is a widespread problem.

Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer for the Troy Police Department, said there were two incidents of mailbox bashing reported in June. However, none have been reported recently but that doesn’t mean they haven’t occurred in the last few days.

A bashing may be thought to be an isolated incident and not important enough to report, he said.

"Our department wants to be in a position to help with problems of this nature," Scarbrough said. "We want to do everything we can for our community. If an incident occurs, we’ll put forth our best effort to resolve it. If someone’s mailbox is destroyed and we find the person or persons responsible, we’ll make sure justice is followed in due course."

Scarbrough said residents are encouraged to report any incidents of mailbox bashing and the secret witness line may be used to report pertinent information.

Starling said there seems to be little homeowners can do to protect their mailboxes because the "criminal mischief" occurs late at night when everyone is asleep.

"You never know when it’s going to happen and you can’t sit and watch your mailbox all night every night," she said. "But, I’m sure there are those who know who is doing the bashing and, if they would call the secret witness line and report them, it would put a stop to all of this destruction."

Scarbrough agreed there is little one can do to protect his investment except erect a substantial casing for the mailbox such as brick or purchase a mailbox that is made from an ABS type plastic.

"The plastic is the same type of material utilized in football helmets and it can accept a severe blow," he said. "I’m not recommending that people do that but it is an alternative."

Those who are victims of mailbox bashing are encourage to report the incident to the Troy Police Department. The secret witness line number is 566-5555 and is available 24 hours a day.