WASHINGTON, D.C. (KXAN)­ – ­­The United States Postal Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service said Monday they are stepping up their crack down on postal crime and crime against postal workers. Among the changes are increases in reward money.

The crack down, Project Safe Delivery, was launched in May 2023. USPS said the initiative was meant to stop a rise in threats and attacks on letter carriers and mail theft incidents by protecting Postal employees and the security of the nation’s mail and packages.   

“As our nation continues to address a sustained crime wave, our targeted focus to crack down on postal crime is progressing,” said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy in a statement. “The safety of our letter carriers — and all postal employees — is our top priority. We will continue to work steadfastly with our law enforcement partners to increase the safety of our employees and protect the sanctity of the nation’s mail.”    

“We have effectively focused our efforts with USPS on hardening both physical and digital targets to combat threats to postal employees and secure the mail.  We continue to turn up the pressure and put potential perpetrators on notice; If you attack Postal employees, steal the mail, or commit other postal crimes, Postal Inspectors will bring you to justice,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale in the statement. “We ask that the public assist us with our mission. Our rewards for information have increased substantially, highlighting the importance of the safety and security of our employees and the mail. If you see something, say something, and help us bring to justice those that cause harm to postal employees, steal mail, or commit other postal crimes.”

Since Project Safe Delivery was launched in May, USPS said more than 600 have been arrested for postal crimes.

It also said it is installing high-security blue collection boxes making access to their contents more difficult for criminals, including more than 10,000 since May.

USPS said it is fighting an increase in letter carrier robberies nationwide where criminals are targeting letter carriers for their Arrow and Modified Arrow Lock (MAL) Keys. According to USPS, criminals use Arrow and MAL keys to steal mail from secure mail receptacles to commit financial crimes, including altering checks to commit check fraud.

USPS said it has replaced more than 6,500 antiquated arrow locks with electronic locks in select cities to make Arrow Keys less valuable for criminals. And it plans to deploy 42,500 more electronic locks across the country in the coming months.

The postal service has also increased the monetary rewards it offers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a perpetrator of a mail crime.

Rewards for information on offenses against USPS Employees/Contractors:

  • $250,000 Murder or Manslaughter of a Postal Service Employee or Contractor
  • $150,000 Assault on Postal Employee
  • $100,000 Robbery

Rewards for information on offenses involving Theft of Mail or USPS Property 

  • $100,000 Burglary Of Post Office
  • $100,000 Theft Of Mail Or Postal Service Property
  • $100,000 Postage or Meter Tampering

The postal service said customers can take the following steps to protect their mail and the people who deliver their mail:  

  • Don’t let incoming or outgoing mail sit in your mailbox.
  • Deposit outgoing mail inside your local Post Office, at your place of business or by handing it to a letter carrier. 
  • Sign up for Informed Delivery and get daily digest emails that preview your mail and packages scheduled to arrive soon. 
  • Join neighborhood watches and local social media groups to spread awareness and share information. 
  • If you see something that looks suspicious, or you see someone following your carrier, call 911.

Customers are encouraged to report stolen mail as soon as possible, USPS said, by submitting an online complaint to the Postal Inspection Service or calling 877-876-2455.

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to report allegations of Postal Service employee misconduct, including attempts to corrupt a Postal Service employee, to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-888-877-7644.