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Detroit Legal Blog

Crimes Against Rideshare Drivers Increase in Detroit

Jun 12, 2018, by Maurice Davis in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog
Rideshare Driver Viewing Route

Many Detroit residents are making ends meet by driving for rideshare companies, such as Lyft and Uber. But, the job is not without risks, especially in Detroit. Crimes against rideshare drivers are on the rise, with several Detroit rideshare drivers being targeted by violent crimes. Rideshare applications and third-party tools such as Tripcam, which gathers video footage of customers, offer a measure of safety to drivers. Nonetheless, there is no way of entirely eliminating potential dangers.

It is important to note that if you have been the victim of another’s violence or criminal act, our local Detroit criminal defense lawyers at Davis Law Group can help. We handle a variety of cases, and we can defend you in yours. To schedule a no-cost case assessment, contact us at (313) 818-3238 today.

Detroit Hit With Rideshare Crime Spree

It’s not uncommon for rideshare customers to attempt to scam their way into free rides, but in high crime areas such as Detroit, some individuals are willing to use violence to steal cash or vehicles from rideshare drivers. Two current Detroit residents are facing federal kidnapping and carjacking charges for allegedly targeting Uber and Lyft drivers. If convicted, they could receive up to 50 years in prison each.

The men who were charged were accused of committing the following acts in 2016 by The United States Attorney’s Office:

  • Carjacking on Fielding Street – Seconds after entering a Lyft ride they had called, the two suspects put a gun to the driver’s head and a knife to his side and demanded that he hand over his money. The driver had only had five dollars, so they hijackers ordered him to call his wife to transfer more money. The driver fled at a red light, and the suspect’s made away with his vehicle.
  • Kidnapping on Schaefer Highway – The federal prosecutor claims that the men put a gun into an Uber driver’s mouth and threatened to kill him if he did not call a friend to bring $1,500. The Uber driver snatched the gun away from the suspects, but when he attempted to shoot, it didn’t fire. The driver ran away, leaving his vehicle behind with the suspects.
  • Robbery and Carjacking on 7 Mile Road – When a Lyft driver picked up the two men at the intersection of 7 Mile Road and the Lodge Freeway, the two men brandished weapons and ordered him to call his brother for cash. The Lyft driver escaped into a gas station, and the suspects fled with his car.
  • Kidnapping on Pinehurst Street – The two men finally succeeded in getting an Uber driver to transfer money from his family. After threatening the driver with a gun and a knife, the two suspects obtained almost $3,000 cash in two transfers before releasing the victim and stealing his car.

Eventually, the police caught the two men accused of committing the above crimes and took them into custody.

Should Rideshare Companies Gather More Information on Clients?

If rideshare companies were more certain about the identities of their customers, it would be easier for law enforcement to locate people who commit crimes against drivers. For now, it’s reasonably easy for anyone to set up a Lyft or an Uber account under a different name, or to use someone else’s account to hail rides. Neither drivers nor the rideshare company knows who exactly is riding in the car.

But, gathering more information on rideshare users could trigger privacy concerns. Tech companies know all too well that their customers are more concerned than ever about their private data, so asking users to prove their identity by uploading sensitive identifying information could prove problematic. Furthermore, there is the issue of how drivers will use this information. Rideshare drivers might start profiling their clients and reject specific ride requests. Thus, it’s unlikely that rideshare drivers are going to be given better access to client profiles.

A Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Our team at Davis Law Group is dedicated to defending the rights of people accused of criminal wrongdoing. You can count on experienced Detroit criminal defense lawyer Maurice Davis to stand by your side and advocate for the positive resolution of your case. If you or a family member has been charged with a crime, contact us today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation about how we might defend your case.