ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Atlanta police are warning rideshare drivers after a recent spike in carjackings involving passengers posing as customers, only to set the drivers up to be robbed.
“Criminals are purchasing rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft and using it as an opportunity to victimize the drivers,” said Captain Peter Malecki.
The Atlanta Police Department is investigating eight carjacking cases in just the last three weeks.
The criminals use the ride hailing apps to their advantage, often setting up fake names and information.
“The suspect will attempt to lure the driver out of his or her vehicle by attempting to get some assistance with opening the trunk,” Malecki said. “When the driver exits the vehicle, one or more suspects will immediately enter the vehicle and drive away.”
Carjackings and assaults on rideshare drivers are on the rise across the country. It is something Ken Wainwright, the local rideshare union president, sees firsthand.
“The danger is tremendous, and it is getting a lot easier for people to be targeted,” Wainwright said. “It is one thing to just carjack a car, but it is another thing if I can bring that car and lure that car closer to me.”
In statements, both Uber and Lyft say they’re working closely with law enforcement and are looking for ways to enhance safety technology for both drivers and riders.
Wainwright says, for drivers, it can’t come soon enough.
“You’re not just taking a car, you’re taking someone’s job when you take someone’s vehicle,” Wainwright said. “We’re fed up. We’re tired of it”
Wainwright says he wants legislation passed that creates stricter punishments for people who commit crimes against rideshare drivers.