The brick mailbox was a crumbled mess on the sidewalk.

For retiree Joe Aldridge, the vandalized mailbox was a costly annoyance, but nothing new in his neighborhood.

“Somebody came along and decided to change the look of the mailbox,” Aldridge jokes. “And they knocked it completely over. We had to tear down what was left and rebuild it.”

Like many residential mailboxes, his was housed in a large brick enclosure. Aldridge believes vandals smashed the enclosure with bats or some other objects, and then were able to push it over onto the sidewalk. Aldridge believes kids may be responsible for the damage.

After spending $550 on a new enclosure and $100 on a locking box, Aldridge believes his new mailbox may be more difficult for vandals to target. The new enclosure is reinforced with concrete and rebar.

“It’s going to be a little harder to destroy next time,” he says.

His neighborhood has seen similar acts of vandalism in recent weeks.

“It’s not an unusual thing, I guess,” Aldridge says. “We know of at least a dozen or so more in our neighborhood.”

Officer Mitch Gatson of the Dallas Police Northeast Patrol Division says investing in a steel locking mailbox would definitely help residents to prevent mail from being stolen. However, vandals still have many ways to destroy a normal brick mailbox enclosure.

Gatson adds that Aldridge’s concrete and rebar reinforcements should make it more difficult.

“These mailboxes can be destroyed in different ways, be it intentional or unintentional. The most secure way for mail not be stolen is use a pro box or a locking mail box, even though it’s still not 100 percent,” Gatson says.