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Subject: Break Ins/Prowlers
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KimT11
(California)

Posts:4


09/11/2019 1:27 PM  
Should the HOA of a small community/complex notify owners that there has been recent mailbox break ins, theft of items in storage areas in parking ports, and trespassers going through the complex? My family and I live in a small complex of 16 units. It is not gated and anyone can walk to up our front door and parking port/garage area.

We have a ring doorbell and it recently caught someone who does not live in the community suspiciously looking my mailbox and my neighbor's mailbox trying to find a way to pry it open. I notified the HOA of this and they informed me that there has been break ins of that nature and other small things in the past several months. Every couple of units has their own mail box area.

We were really surprised to hear this. If we knew that there were previous break ins, my husband and I would have been more vigilant in keeping our eyes and ears open. Normally, our area is very quiet and safe. I don't think the HOA is required to inform owners of this, but should they notify us so that we know what is going on in our community/complex so we can all be careful and stay safe?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16481


09/11/2019 2:27 PM  
Posted By KimT11 on 09/11/2019 1:27 PM

We have a ring doorbell and it recently caught someone who does not live in the community suspiciously looking my mailbox and my neighbor's mailbox trying to find a way to pry it open. I notified the HOA of this




Why didn't you notify the Police?

Note: You still can notify the police. Your video may be the break they need in the case.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:461


09/11/2019 3:05 PM  
You're talking about criminal behavior (break-ins, etc.) which is a job for the police, not the HOA. On the other hand, our community manager will give residents a courtesy heads-up if we know about something like this.
PestY


Posts:0


09/11/2019 3:09 PM  
..... I don't think the HOA is required to inform owners of this, but should they notify us so that we know what is going on in our community/complex so we can all be careful and stay safe?


You were not careful before there was criminal activity?

... perhaps that is why y'all became targets ...
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8603


09/11/2019 3:20 PM  
This is a neighbor thing not a HOA thing. You are all neighbors. COMMUNICATE! The HOA is ONLY made up of you and your neighbors.

We had a pervert of a guy in our neighborhood. It wasn't my responsibility as President to tell anyone. However, me as a neighbor and concerned citizen certainly did make neighbors aware. I told the guys to NOT leave women alone at the pool if this man showed up. He had exposed himself to a woman there. Although police were notified little we could do as no witness. He was married with kids AND a boy scout leader! He even assaulted me but was able to get away. He grabbed me in the pool and would not let me go. No did not call the police as it would not be viewed as "assault". He was a renter not a HOA member.

This isn't unlike what a neighborhood watch does. Just if your form one. Make it SEPARATE from the HOA.

Former HOA President
KimT11
(California)

Posts:4


09/11/2019 6:36 PM  
We'll contact the police and give them the clip that we have. Thank you!

I worded it poorly. I always try to be careful and look around, but if there are noises outside, we've always assumed it was a neighbor. The other complexes near us have gates and locked entryways so that's probably why we are a target.

It's strange because even though our complex only has 16 units, we don't know any of our neighbors! We sometimes go weeks without running into a neighbor. When we do see them, they seem pretty private after salutations so we let them go about their business. The only contact information we have for any of our neighbors are three people on the board.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:790


09/12/2019 5:15 AM  
Are you able to work with the post office to move the mailboxes to an inside secure area?
KimT11
(California)

Posts:4


09/12/2019 10:04 AM  
There isn't a secure area besides our individual units. The board wants everyone's door to look the same so we can't have a mail slot put just in ours. I asked if we could potentially have have this done for everyone if the post office agrees because some people had theirs broken into multiple times, but the board said they replaced the doors about ten years ago and they are still good, so no.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:461


09/12/2019 11:32 AM  
I don't know why the board wouldn't consider cluster mailboxes. Yes, they're ugly, but with all of the identity theft and other problems nowadays, I believe it is irresponsible to force homeowners to use mailboxes that can be broken into and their mail stolen.
KimT11
(California)

Posts:4


09/13/2019 11:26 AM  
I get what you're saying, but the board makes it come off as a money issue and unnecessary spending in their eyes. They also said other neighbors don't complain with the status quo and because we haven't really conversed with neighbors, we don't know if this is true or not. We're trying to "bump" into neighbors more than before just to see their thoughts, but honestly, at this point, we won't know for sure who is a neighbor or visitor or trespasser lol if all else fails, we will have to have our important mail sent to our workplaces.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2701


09/13/2019 12:02 PM  
Well, it may or may not be a money issue - when was the last time you looked at the association budget? Depending on the number and style of mailboxes you might need, it may be that expense is affordable - or your neighbors may not want to get them, regardless of the cost. Pull out your budget and take a good look - if you see something you don't understand, go to a meeting and ask.

As for the neighbors, it's true it can be hard to tell who lives in the community or not, but that shouldn't stop you from taking a walk and intruding yourself. It may be some have seen or heard something that the board should be aware of that may help persuade them to rethink getting mailboxes
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:461


09/13/2019 12:05 PM  
It very well could be a money issue, although I think they're being short-sighted as well. It sounds as if the HOA owns the mailboxes...??? If the board thinks that buying new mailboxes is too expensive, wait 'til they see what it costs when a resident's mail is stolen and their bank accounts drained, and the person files a lawsuit against the HOA for refusing to provide or allow secure mailboxes.

Here's what I would do in a similar situation:

* Go to email delivery of financial and other important documents (saves you the chore of shredding stuff as well). Direct the rest to a secure delivery spot (PO box if they're close enough?).

* Start an education campaign. It's very likely that the board is just uninformed and not thinking beyond immediate issues. Talk about identify theft and stolen mail, and what the possible consequences would be for the HOA if it owns and is responsible for the mailboxes.

* Ask the board to educate the community about these issues.

* After that, if the HOA budget is really that strained, suggest the board poll the community about their willingness to chip in for secured mailboxes. I did a quick Google search and saw 16-unit boxes for sale around $1300 (installation is extra). That's a small enough amount of money that owners may be willing to do a small special assessment once they're aware of the issues.

* And don't forget to check with the local post office to see if they have any requirements or useful input.

This is a solvable problem. Good luck!
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/13/2019 12:43 PM  
Postal break-ins are reported to the Postmaster in your area, more specifically, your zip code. Most secure are the mail clusters. They will secure incoming as well as outgoing mail. You might even inquire to see if the Post office still has the program to install and pay for the cluster boxes. Since you have only 16 unit, one cluster box will suffice and the cost with installation is under $2000.00. If you were to get quality locking individual boxes the cost would be about the same. The HOA may have to approve the locking boxes and the owners would have to approve the cluster boxes.

So you are aware, with Ring, you can connect with Nextdoor and share you footage from your doorbell/ringer.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8603


09/13/2019 3:22 PM  
Hold your horses on the cluster boxes... Ours were broken into a few times. One of the reasons is that owners often did not take care of their locks on their boxes. The HOA did NOT provide the locks nor install them. The locks were about $5 at a home improvement store. The mailman would install them for free if you left them in the box.

The post office also doesn't make cluster boxes as readily now a days. Think they have like 1 to 2 vendors that do it. They may be increasing production as they are trying to make money saving decisions to include cluster boxes. Less starts/stops.

Post office has their own postal inspectors for postal crimes. Best to report those to them. They will send an inspector out. Had this happen when our boxes got broken into. My last paycheck got stolen as others child support payments. One of which was a law enforcement officer. They couldn't even touch the crime as it was covered by the post office.

Form a neighborhood watch for the crime if you are all that concerned. Just don't fund it with HOA funds...

Former HOA President
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/13/2019 3:49 PM  
The Post Office does not make cluster boxes. Private companies make them, although they have to meet US Postal specs.

https://www.google.com/search?q=post+office+cluster+boxes&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS768US768&oq=post+office+cluster+boxes&aqs=chrome..69i57.7223j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Can they be broken into, yes, but then ANYTHING can be broken into if someone is that desperate.
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