Of all the available types of mailboxes, mail slots seem like the most secure. How could your mail be safer than when it’s being delivered directly to your house? Yet some people worry that a mail slot makes the house itself unsafe. Is it sensible for you to install one and, if you choose to do so, what precautions should you take with it?

The first thing you should be aware of is that not every mail delivery agent will deliver to a mail slot. Check with your local mail service to find out if it’s an option for you.

The second thing to consider is that mail slots are by far the most common means of receiving mail in Europe, and housebreaking is no more common there. What’s more, despite many Americans’ fears, police records do not indicate that mail slots are often used in housebreaking.

There is one notable exception to this, and that’s when people attach a key to a piece of string and thread it through the mailbox so that their children or friends can let themselves in. This, as you might imagine, us no secret from burglars, and is about as safe as hiding a key under the mat.

In order to avoid trouble with this type of mailbox, position it a good distance away from the handle of the door, making sure it’s not possible to reach around inside and touch the door or key. This should be the case even when no mail flap has been fitted.

A mail flap is important because it provides security from wind and rain and stops strangers being able to see into your house. Choosing one with brushes on the inside will help with insulation.

When mail enters your house through a mail slot, it normally falls directly to the floor. Some people prefer to use a basket to catch it, especially if they have pets who might otherwise eat it, but popular designs of basket which simply hook onto the mail slot can be a security risk, as they’re easily tipped up to pour mail back out of the slot. A basket which attaches directly to the door, lower down, is safer.

Properly fitted, a mail slot doesn’t need to be a security risk, and it’s safer for your mail than any other option.