Not any more

New-look Canada Post mailbox aims to curb graffiti

In Canada on August 11, 2010 at 08:58

Canada Post mailboxes have gotten a makeover and the new look may be coming to a Calgary street near you.

The national mail carrier is replacing all of the red letter drops with boxes patterned with Canadian postal codes. The change has already been made in Vancouver and Toronto — and it’s not all about curb appeal.

“The design is busier and this helps to discourage graffiti,” said Teresa Williams, Canada Post spokeswoman. “Most graffiti artists like a plain and featureless surface to do their work.”

Const. Dave Ladic of the Calgary Police Service graffiti vandalism unit said he’s heard the colourful boxes have worked in reducing street art in Saanich, B.C. He added the new letter drops will hopefully make an impact in Calgary.

“Graffiti culture is all about getting up — they are going to tag (their names) as much as they can in public. It’s all about ego and this takes away their clean slate.”

Ladic said graffiti causes damage to someone else’s property and is therefore vandalism. Plus, there’s a social cost to it. “The perceptions when people see graffiti in a community is that place is unsafe and gangs are moving in and the community is not cared for,” he said.

Along with the updated pattern, a special type of coating is helping with graffiti removal. The Crown corporation spokeswoman said it’s a Teflon-like finish and makes washing paint off easier.

There’s also been some interior upgrading. Williams said postal workers no longer have to scoop out mail, but simply exchange full containers with empty ones.

“The boxes will start appearing on the street in September,” noted Williams. “It’ll take a while to exchange them all, but by early January 2011 we should have all the new boxes.”

Williams said the new boxes are made in Canada, but didn’t know how much it’ll cost to switch from the older boxes to the updated version.

People are still using “snail mail” in the age of e-mail and mobile phone texting, she added.

“We are seeing our mail volumes dropping . . . There are fewer letters, but as more and more people go online, they’re doing more and more shopping online and Canada Post is a main carrier of those purchases.”

lstorry@theherald.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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