USPS wants people to install new jumbo mailboxes. Here’s why.

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Mail theft on the rise

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The U.S. Postal Service is urging customers to upgrade to new jumbo mailboxes, with the postal agency saying that these larger receptacles are better able to handle more of the types of packages that people order from online retailers. 

The USPS is alerting customers about the bigger mailboxes for what it calls “mailbox improvement week,” which occurs the third week of May. The new jumbo mailboxes aren’t sold by the USPS, but can be bought at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s and other retailers and cost about $66 each.

The mail service told CBS MoneyWatch it doesn’t get any revenue or other financial benefits when customers purchase a jumbo mailbox. Instead, the USPS is recommending the bigger mailboxes because of the spread of online shopping, which requires delivering many more boxes and packages to home addresses. 

“The encouragement to use the [jumbo] mailboxes comes from wanting customers to have an option to accommodate all their mail pieces and packages,” a USPS spokesperson said. “Being able to have all of your mail items in your box prevents oversize items from being left at the door when a customer is not home.”

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An image of one of the new jumbo mailboxes, which retail for about $66, that the U.S. Postal Service is recommending as an upgrade. The bigger mailboxes can more easily fit packages compared with older receptacles, a benefit as more people shift to online shopping. USPS

At the same time, more Americans are dealing with package thefts, with Capital One finding in a recent report that 3 in 4 people have had an item stolen in the last year. “Porch pirates” are also an issue, or when thieves spot packages left on porches or next to doors and nab the parcels. 

Even so, the new mailboxes don’t lock, and the USPS also urges people to sign up for “informed delivery” service, which can alert you when a package has been delivered.

The new mailboxes are more than 13 inches wide and stand 12 inches high. A typical mailbox, which costs about $20 to $25, has a width of about 7 inches and a height of about 9 inches.

The USPS also urged people to upgrade or fix broken mailboxes. For instance, customers should check their mailboxes for loose hinges or a loose mailbox post, it noted.

“Broken mailboxes can be compromised, and the Postal Service would like to ensure our customers receive uninterrupted delivery service as a result of their mailbox being out of service,” the spokesperson said. 

Aimee Picchi

Aimee Picchi is the associate managing editor for CBS MoneyWatch, where she covers business and personal finance. She previously worked at Bloomberg News and has written for national news outlets including USA Today and Consumer Reports.

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