Woman Assaulted by her Uber Driver – Avoid Becoming a Victim when Using RideShare

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by Bernie Carr

Just a quick post today, as I wanted to share a news story about a woman in Santa Ana, California who was assaulted by her Uber driver a few days ago. According to KTLA news:

About 4 a.m. Wednesday, a 51-year-old woman called an Uber to take her to work and Rodas arrived. But instead of taking her to her job, the Santa Ana Police Department reported Rodas drove the woman around erratically, asked her sexual questions and then stopped in the 300 block of South Minnie Street.

“The woman ran from the vehicle, but Rodas is accused of grabbing her, strangling her and attempting to sexually assault her. She managed to escape and run to her workplace,” the DA’s Office said in a news release.

Source: KTLA News

In a separate incident, back in March, a 28-year old Chicago woman was also assaulted.

Police said the victim, a 28-year-old woman, was picked up by a rideshare service at around 7:40 p.m. in the 3300-block of North Sheffield Avenue after spending time at Redmond’s Ale House. Police said a staff member at the bar hailed the Uber for the woman.

The woman was then sexually assaulted inside the vehicle by the Uber driver before being driven about four miles west to the 3300-block of North Karlov Avenue in Kilbourn Park to be dropped off, police said.

Source: abc7chicago

There have been several rideshare users who became victims of crime in many cities.  You don’t hear about many of them because they are mostly reported in local news. 

It’s not just solo women who are victimized. Another story you may not have heard about the couple whose driver went back to rob their home after he dropped them off at the airport. Fortunately for the couple their burglar alarm scared off the thief, but he went on to rob another home in the same neighborhood. The couple discovered it was their driver when their alarm service sent them of the photo of the perpetrator, whom they recognized as their rideshare driver who just finished dropping them off.

If you live at or near a big city, chances are you’ve considered catching a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft. They are also convenient to use when you are traveling and don’t want to rent a car. Even if you don’t personally use rideshare services, I am sure you know someone who does.

What should you do to stay safe?

Taking a few precautions may help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Keep your wits about you – pay attention to what’s going on around instead of reading or watching a video on your phone.
  • Avoid being intoxicated.
  • If you can, share the ride with a friend instead of going alone.
  • Wait inside the building, instead of out in the curb. You will get a notification if the driver is right outside anyway.
  • If you must wait outside, stay in a well-lighted area.
  • If you are getting picked up from your home, make sure you have locked up and set your burglar alarm before you get picked up. 
  • Always check the car’s model, color and license plate number before getting in the car.
  • Take a picture of the license plate just in case you need it later.
  • Ask the driver who are they there to pick up, without giving them your name. Only get in the car after you have verified who they are against the app, and if they give you the right information.   
  • Notify someone you are taking a rideshare and make sure the driver knows it. Make a call and say, “I’m leaving on my Uber (or Lyft or whatever you are using), I’ll see you in 20 minutes.” This lets the driver know someone has your back.
  • When you get in the car, ride in the back seat. The back seat provides you with two possible exits, instead of just one if you sit in the front passenger seat.
  • Put your seat belt on.
  • Use the button on the app that allows you to share your status with your friends. This way they can track you in case anything happens. “Share trip status” in Uber or “Share route” in Lyft.
  • Don’t share personal information with the driver.
  • Listen to your gut. If you do not have a good feeling about the driver, or if you notice the smell of alcohol, don’t get in the car.

Thousands of people use ride share services successfully- the vast majority of drivers are just there to earn a living. Unfortunately, you still have to beware of the bad ones. Using ride share is generally not dangerous, but you never know. Take extra precautions and keep yourself safe.

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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

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