Nothing echoes like an empty mailbox. Except a mailbox that is no longer there.

Locals dropping off letters in front of the Miami Springs library paused Tuesday morning as they rolled down their windows in search of the iconic blue box.

Missing Westward Mailboxes (Photo Credit Theo Karantsalis)
Missing Westward Mailboxes (Photo Credit Theo Karantsalis)

“This collection box at 401 Westward Drive in Miami Springs was vandalized and was removed yesterday,” said USPS regional spokeswoman Debbie Fetterly. “USPS is working with its maintenance team to install a replacement either today or tomorrow.”

Over the last decade, mailboxes about the country have been removed due to reductions in first-class letters and the profound shift in the use of email and social networking sites. Nationwide, there are currently 140,875 blue collection boxes, according to the Postal Service.

A Freedom of Information Act submitted to the Postal Service seeking the locations and reasons for mailbox removals in Miami Springs, since 2011, is pending review.

“When establishing, reviewing or modifying collection operations, the number of street collection boxes installed, their location and the frequency of service is determined primarily by mailing patterns and mail volume generated in each community,” Fetterly said. “When a collection box consistently receives very small amounts of mail for months on end, it costs the Postal Service money in fuel and workhours for letter carriers to drive to the mailbox and collect the mail.”

However, high-volume mailboxes like the one near the library often stay put.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, Miami Springs currently has mailboxes at the following locations:

– 3600 North Lejeune Road

– 107 Westward Drive (U.S. Post Office)

– 401 Westward Drive

– 4299 Northwest 36th St.

Virginia Gardens has two mailboxes:

– 6555 Northwest 36th St.

– 6498 Northwest 38th Terrace

A separate FOIA request for a count and contents description of the mailbox that was hauled away on Monday is also pending.

“Letter mail was retrieved from the vandalized collection box, so it is unlikely that any mail was stolen,” Fetterly said.

A public records request for a copy of a police report, if one has been filed, is under review by the City of Miami Springs.

Should vandalism result in the destruction or theft of mail, a postal collection box, or other U.S. Postal Service property, notify your Postmaster so it can be reported to the Postal Inspection Service, according to the Postal Service.

“We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience,” Fetterly said.


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