(CBS) — Delivering mail shouldn’t be a dangerous job, but in some Chicago neighborhoods, postal carriers are finding themselves caught in the crossfire.

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Others have been targets of brutal attacks and robberies, but a new program set to roll out next month aims to keep them safe.

CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports.

Ronda Wilkes has been delivering mail for 9 ½ years, and she knows the job comes with some hazards – dogs mainly.

But U.S. Postal Inspectors and police say these days the dangers are worse, especially in some Chicago neighborhoods. They range from being robbed to being shot at.

“We’ve had a lot of issues with our letter carriers on the streets where they’re getting caught in crossfires, and they need protection,” U.S. Postal Inspector Ken Pflanz says.

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That need led to the creation of the Carrier Protection Program. The concept is simple: Residents can identify their home as a safe place where postal carriers can seek shelter in times of danger or an emergency.

“The reception has been overwhelming. We’re partnering up with the Chicago Police Caps program,” Postal Inspector Jerry Phillips says.

He says the biggest question from residents is why the program wasn’t started sooner.

“Anything can break out at any time, and if something happens, to know that we have somewhere we can go is good,” says Wilkes, the carrier.

The program will be officially launched in the Grand Crossing neighborhood in the next few weeks. The hope is to expand it to other Chicago neighborhoods, and possibly nationwide.

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If you’d like more information on the program, contact your local CAPS officer.