Pizza delivery and taxi drivers used to be the target of criminals who wanted fast cash. Now, that people mostly pay electronically, drivers aren’t carrying cash. However, that doesn’t mean that food delivery drivers don’t have things that criminals want. Nearly everyone carries expensive electronics that criminals turn into quick cash or drugs.
And some criminals target victims not for stuff, but because they are sexual predators, hate a specific group of people, mentally unstable or just incapable of controlling their violent, evil desires.
Delivering Food Can Be Dangerous—
Naturally, folks whose work requires that they go to unfamiliar places and homes, or allow strangers into their vehicle, are at a higher risk of harm from criminals. We published a few articles specifically for drivers and customers of rideshare services.
- Your Rideshare Safety Strategy Should Start Before The Car Arrives
- Strategies to Stay Safe When Using Rideshare Services
- Firearm in an Uber; Uncovering their Policy?
- What is Lyfts Gun Policy?
While there are some similarities in the safety strategies between food delivery drivers and rideshare drivers, there are some challenges unique to each job that require some specific attention. So I’ve narrowed this post’s scope to food delivery drivers specifically.
Woman Sexually Assaulted While Delivering Food—
Here is the latest story that made me want to write this post.
Last week, a 38-year-old man kidnapped and sexually assaulted a woman who was delivering food for DoorDash to an International Plaza Hotel in Tampa, Florida.
According to Fox 13 News, the suspect, armed with a handgun, kidnapped the driver who was in her 20s, and forced her to drive to an apartment where he completed the assault. The victim was on the phone with a family member when the assault took place and the suspect was unaware, because the victim was using earpods.
The family member located the victim and staged a rescue. Fox 13 reported that during the rescue, the suspect shot one of the family members. The suspect fled, and apparently only hours later, physically assaulted and stole the backpack of another woman.
Three days later, police finally located and caught the piece of trash pictured below.
Some Examples From the News—
Here are a just a few other news stories documenting assaults on food delivery drivers.
‘Demonic' Florida man murders, dismembers Uber Eats driver for ‘no reason': sheriff
- ‘Demonic' Florida Man Murders, Dismembers Uber Eats Driver for ‘NO Reason': Sheriff
- Pizza Delivery Driver Robbed, Beaten and Abducted
- Delivery Driver in North Little Rock Assaulted
- Pizza Delivery Driver Robbed in Akron, Oh
- Pizza Delivery Driver Assaulted
- DoorDash Driver Robbed at Gunpoint
- Atlanta DoorDash Driver Attacked, Strangled
- Man Attacks DoorDash Driver with Blowtorch
What You Can Do—
I wouldn’t even think of working as a food delivery driver without carrying a concealed handgun. If you carry a firearm, please get more training than what your state may require for a concealed carry permit. You can learn a lot from online courses, but use them to supplement defensive-focused, live-fire, handgun training with reputable instructors.
If you’re going to deliver food, first find out their firearm police for employees. If they have a no firearm policy, look for a different job, or choose to carry concealed and risk losing your job, or any civil/criminal repercussions if someone finds out.
Also check to see if the company has a safety feature built into their app. For example, DoorDash provides drivers a way to contact emergency services from within the DoorDash app if they feel unsafe.
Regarding the firearm, keep the gun on your person. There are lots of vehicle-mounted “holsters” but these are a terrible idea. If you need the gun, the best place for is it is in a holster on your body. If you’re not used to carrying a firearm, you need to work through some trial and error to find what carry position, gun, holster, belt, clothing combination works best for sitting in a vehicle.
If you’re new to concealed carry, or experienced trouble finding a comfortable way to carry concealed, please consider this course called Holsters Concealment and Carry Positions.
Deliver drivers for companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash have various levels of ability to refuse delivering to specific locations. Violent crime can happen anywhere, but it’s still worth spending some time looking at the crime statistics in the areas you’ll be serving. You may refuse a delivery to an exceptionally violent neighborhood or work during the day when you can see more and crime isn’t as high.
This may seem obvious, but whenever you’re in the vehicle, keep the doors locked and windows up at least high enough that no one can easily reach in.
When you approach a delivery location, observe the area for anything noteworthy or out of place. Pay attention to occupied vehicles, people paying attention to you, or other behavior that just doesn’t seem right.
When you park, don’t box yourself in behind other vehicles, instead leave yourself an avenue(s) of escape. Depending on the specific situation, consider parking in front of the next house, and not the exact delivery location. This provides you with some extra observation of anything out of place as you approach on foot.
Don’t leave the vehicle running when you get out and make the delivery. It is convenient until someone rolls away in your car.
If the company doesn't provide a way, consider using the native or downloading a third-party app that allows you to share your exact, real-time location with friends and family, along with a panic alert. Some phones come equipped with location sharing and even allow you to send a panic 911 call with only a couple of quick presses. There are also many aftermarket apps and even wearable devices that essentially do the same thing.
Calling 911 is a good thing, but it’s not the end-all-be-all for safety. As you see here, many cities' 911 services are completely overwhelmed and unable to even answer 911 calls in a timely manner. Furthermore, it’s not as easy for police to track a person’s location using their cell phone as it TV makes it seem.
So an app that sends your location and alert to a family member who can then also call 911 to give your location is preferable.
Unless it’s mandated, don’t put signage on your vehicle identifying it as a delivery vehicle. Criminals are opportunistic and may see someone delivering food to a neighborhood as someone unfamiliar with the location and an easy target.
My intent with this post isn’t to scare anyone away from working for a food delivery service, but just to give some strategies to be more prepared and equipped to work safely.
If this topic interests you, here are a few posts on defensive strategies and avoidance related to car jackings.
- [VIDEO] 5 Carjackings; How to Increase Your Odds Of Winning The Fight
- I Survived a Carjacking, 8 Takeaways
- Carjackings Are Up Across The Country (Why and What to do About it)
If you’re a food delivery driver, what safety strategies do you use daily? Have you experienced violence or avoided it through keen observance? Let us know in the comments below.