Here’s why USPS says it downsized West Seattle post offices’ dropoff mailboxes

We got multiple messages Thursday afternoon from people wondering about the smaller boxes that have replaced the previously standard larger boxes outside both of West Seattle’s post offices. After verifying the change (our photo above shows the one outside the Westwood Village post office), we asked regional USPS spokesperson Kim Frum about it today. Her answer, in short: These smaller boxes are more secure. The long version:

The increase in crime throughout the country over the past several years has resulted in escalating criminal incidents against United States Postal Service (USPS) employees and the mail. Every postal employee deserves to work in safety and to be free from targeting by criminals seeking to access the public’s mail. In an increasingly challenging environment, the USPS and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) are highly focused on protecting postal employees and property and ensuring the secure delivery of the nation’s mail and packages.

Recognizing these ongoing safety threats, we have been – and will continue to- implement an engaged, robust nationwide initiative to harden blue collection boxes, enhance collection box key and lock technology and institute dual authentication for change of address protocols. These measures not only protect the integrity of the mail but offer additional safeguards for our carriers and other employees. Furthermore, USPS and USPIS are partnering with federal and local authorities to enforce the laws and bring criminals to justice.

We will continue to adapt to evolving security threats and implement expanded measures to safeguard our employees and preserve the security of the mail that our customers expect and deserve.

The Postal Service will be releasing and implementing additional preventative, protection, and enforcement measures later this spring.

While we don’t know about specific measures involving these two mailboxes, this type of box isn’t entirely crime-resistant – as evidenced in Admiral back in January.

36 Replies to "Here's why USPS says it downsized West Seattle post offices' dropoff mailboxes"

  • Seattlite April 28, 2023 (3:02 pm)

    Whatever happened to law and order in the USA?  I went to the Westwood Village PO to mail a letter just yesterday.  I did not realize the change in the drop off mail box until I was adjacent to it.  Then I had to place my car in park, open the car door, step out and mail the letter.  I am willing to do this.  However, I am a senior who is feisty, agile and up for the challenge.  I feel sorry for the seniors who will have a hard time with this type of drop off mail box.

    • flimflam April 28, 2023 (6:23 pm)

      Yes, it is discouraging and sad. Also sad and discouraging is that people actually try to excuse and defend this stuff by blaming anything but the criminals doing this stuff. Hopefully it can get better somehow….

    • Lagartija Nick April 28, 2023 (7:35 pm)

      “Whatever happened to law and order in the USA?” I don’t know, why don’t you ask the former president? When lawlessness is allowed and condoned (even celebrated by some) at the highest level of our government, what message do you think that sends to the rest of us?

      • DB April 29, 2023 (7:36 am)

        This. Absolutely. Garbage leadership and lack of morals gives people an example to follow. 

      • 937 April 29, 2023 (10:26 am)


        Deflect much?

      • Scarlett April 29, 2023 (12:05 pm)

        People don’t generally model their behavior on politicians, whatever their political affiliation.  

        • Todd Anderson April 30, 2023 (12:55 pm)

          Seems to me lots of people model their behavior on the president including Proud Boys and other insurrectionists . Nice deflection though.

      • Seattlite April 29, 2023 (5:29 pm)

        USPS’s  spokesperson said in her long-version statement that crime is escalating and causing safety problems for USPS employees.The answer for Seattle’s lack of law and order is a police officer shortage.  Criminals are arrested, charged, but somehow quickly find their criminal selves back on the streets to reoffend.  

    • SLN April 29, 2023 (9:09 am)

      Step 1 – hear about smaller mailboxes // Step 2 – realize this change doesn’t adversely affect you // Step 3 – yell at clouds

  • Chemist April 28, 2023 (3:12 pm)

    Is this like the newer box at Brandon and California, where the hatch only opens about an inch and there’s no explanation/indication that it’s a new mail-fishing countermeasure?  Before I researched it, I wondered if there was some sort of “do not use” lock on the box I wanted to put an outgoing envelope in.

  • Erik April 28, 2023 (4:49 pm)

    Probably for the best. I’d imagine a smaller box requires more frequent emptying, meaning less mail would be stolen (also stores less mail). They also seem like they would be cheaper to replace since it’s obviously just going to be stolen again in the future anyway. Better use of funds. Much like cash drop boxes in retail. The faster and more frequently you get the money to a secure location the better. Similar for mail. Good on the USPS. 

  • Sandra Dee April 28, 2023 (5:12 pm)

    Holey Bananas.  I went by the Westwood Post Office last weekend on Sunday afternoon and they had the X-LARGE  mail box out front & It was OVERFLOWING with mail pieces popping out of it.  If the Post Office can’t maintain the larger mailbox and maintain their scheduled Pick-Up times (they obviously missed a weekend pick up time), what’s gonna happen with a small box?  I did see one Post Office worker standing on the side of the building, I was going to ask her about the overflowing mail but decided not to stop. 

    • Sam-c April 28, 2023 (6:14 pm)

      I encountered the overflowing (large) box on a Sunday afternoon too. It was the Sunday before taxes were due. I wondered about all that mail and if the box had been emptied at all on the weekend. It didn’t help when they made the change to lock the lobby on Sundays. 

    • Niko April 28, 2023 (6:15 pm)

      Spent an ongoing problem for years! I remember on my way to work I had taken in a few letters for my grandmother who specifically wanted them in there for the 12:30 pick up. I lost my wallet and thought that I had mistakenly thrown it in with the mail because I set it on the passenger seat sometimes.I went back down there at 4:00 p.m. asking if they had found a black wallet in the outside box and they said they hadn’t brought in any mail all day

    • Out of curiosity April 28, 2023 (8:03 pm)

      The “overflowing” problem is more than likely due to people “dropping” larger than capable soft packages that get lodged in the “letter sized” collection box. So it’s not necessarily the incompetence of the post office but more likely user error of the general public who are too inconvenienced to drop of said packages in the large opening collection box inside or informing the front clerks of a larger prepaid outgoing package . Remember, if you see a letter carrier on the street, they will always accept outgoing mail. You can also go on their website for a package pickup at your home or business which you can have instructions (ring door bell, package left behind pot, etc.) for your safety and security. The letter carrier will receive a printout of your request of pick-up. Why go to the post office when they can come to you.

  • Jim April 28, 2023 (6:13 pm)

    I’m so sick of this mentality in this city! Crime is rampant so we’re going to implement a policy that negatively impacts everyone because we won’t deal with it

  • Carol April 28, 2023 (6:16 pm)

    I think the million dollar question is “DID THEY FILL IN THE GIANT POTHOLE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE MAILBOX?”   Of course, now that it’s no longer a drive up box, I suppose that no longer matters.  Also agree with Sandra Dee….this is all bananas.  I think DeJoy is just continuing his quest to destroy the USPS from within.  It makes me sad, and angry. 

  • 1994 April 28, 2023 (11:05 pm)

    If possible , it is a good idea to walk your mail inside the post office and drop your mail at the interior mail slot. 

  • j April 28, 2023 (11:24 pm)

    It’s simply smaller and costs less to replace when it’s stolen.

  • tim April 28, 2023 (11:26 pm)

    I was car #4 in line at the new box.  It took forever. I watched the 1st car (an older lady) having extreme difficulty getting her letter into the box. She ended up having to get out of her car to get the letter in there. She was not agile, and she looked quite inconvenienced. Then the next car, a younger person, same thing. Much difficulty.  She asked a passerby to put the letter in for her, and he was having trouble, and he wasn’t even in a car.  and so on. I’m wondering what the heck is wrong?  I thought, whatever it is, I’ll just sail right thru. Nope. It’s a weird opening, with these little teeth that the letter must fit thru.  It’s very sad that mail delivery has come to this. I’m glad that the postal inspector is ramping up to protect our mail and our letter carriers, but this speaks volumes about the degradation of our society.  We need some harsher penalties I think.

  • Sue H April 29, 2023 (12:19 am)

    So based on one of the comments above, does that mean there is no longer a drive-up mailbox in West Seattle that doesn’t require you to get out of your car to mail a letter? It may not seem like a big deal to have to open your car door and stand up to mail a letter, but for the disabled like myself, it can be a really big deal. I can only move so far when I’m connected to an oxygen tank in the back seat.

    • bill April 29, 2023 (9:02 am)

      The box at the California PO in the Junction should be accessible. There is no curb preventing driving close to it. 

      • James May 1, 2023 (9:31 am)

        Not close enough for people who live further south like White Center. We don’t all have cars.

  • CeeJay April 29, 2023 (7:01 am)

    Why are y’all sending letters anyway? Cosmo Kramer wanted to cancel his mail in the 90s and in the 2020s is there really a need to send a letter? 

    • KM April 29, 2023 (6:42 pm)

      Shouldn’t you be wearing the bucket?

  • M. HOOVER April 29, 2023 (8:58 am)

    I am 90  years old with mobility issues and was unable to access the Westwood box      Only place now to mail my letters is from  my own mail box   and that risks theft.

  • Dcn April 29, 2023 (10:47 am)

    I stopped putting my mail in the drive up mailbox when my Mom’s birthday card was torched in one of several mailbox vandalism events at Westwood Village. It also concerned me because the fire happened after the last collection time, but I had dropped my card in the box well before the last collection time, so the box hadn’t been emptied. If the postmark date had been important, that card would have been postmarked a day later than it was mailed. So, now I always park and run my letters inside. I know this is not possible for everyone. It’s sad that outdoor mailboxes can’t ever be secure from theft or vandalism. 

  • Patience April 29, 2023 (10:57 am)

    Can anyone confirm if we can legally use the out-going mail slot located in a cluster box on a street? If we ARE legally able to use the outgoing mail slot, this may be a solution for those who have difficulty hopping out of a car – in my neighborhood, some of the cluster boxes are easily accessible by vehicle.

    • Mellow Kitty April 30, 2023 (8:16 am)

      Legality aside, it’s extremely rude of you to suggest using someone else’s outgoing mail slots because going into the post office is an inconvenience. Why not just park in their empty driveways as well when you’re unable to find street parking. SMDH. 

      • Patience May 1, 2023 (9:03 am)

        @mellow kitty:  WOW – MEOW MUCH?!?!?  Inconvenience?  May you never have ankle surgery or become mobility challenged! For these special/mobility challenged folks who CAN still drive/get out into society to do their DRIVE-UP banking, Rx pick up, curbside restaurant pick up, pick up groceries, etc. BUT cannot hop in and out of their vehicle to accomplish all these tasks – IF LEGAL, my CBU outgoing mail suggestion would be an option. A dear family friend uses her wheelchair to get into her hands-controlled van to run her errands.  She does not put any outgoing mail in her box as the neighborhood gets hit by mailbox theft often.

  • James April 29, 2023 (12:57 pm)

    They needed to add a second big box to Westwood village not downsize it.  Also, the big box already had the anti fishing equipment because you can hear it when you drop something in.  They chain the doors at Westwood Village so you can’t go inside to drop something off after hours.

  • Gatewood April 29, 2023 (1:14 pm)

    I wish I had stopped reading the comments, so I didn’t read CeeJay’s.  your comment made me so mad I had to stop reading the blog for a moment.   Cards and letters in the mail are a beautiful thing.  

  • Eric1 April 29, 2023 (2:03 pm)

    Reality is cruel. You can’t make this stuff up. 

  • StuckInWestSeattle April 30, 2023 (6:47 pm)

    This was terrible to use. I drove through the westwood and had to basically step out of my car at an awkward angle with the door half open to put the mail in. I think the more secure is an excuse.

  • OrangArms April 30, 2023 (6:48 pm)

    Westwood Village box:1) no hatch only slot on car side 2) the box is so far from the curb you have to get out and step to the box to get anything in the slot from your car. Not a definition of a car drop box. (my arms are not long enough)

  • Lola May 1, 2023 (2:24 pm)

    Do you know if they will pick up mail more frequently from the boxes at the post office?  I utilize the one in the West Seattle Junction and I can tell you that just before they pick it up at 5 pm like at 4:45 when I get there it is stuffed to the gill, there is no-where to park to take the mail in as all of the postal workers have parked their Riggs in the parking spots.  It seems like if they are going to smaller boxes that they maybe need to pick up the mail more than just twice a day.  Maybe Morning, Noon, and just before closing?  

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