WATCH: New crime trend has e-hailing services and security company urging residents to be vigilant

Published Nov 16, 2022


Cape Town – A new crime trend has emerged and e-hailing services as well as a security company are urging customers and delivery drivers to be vigilant.

In a video that has since gone viral, an e-hailing delivery driver can be seen pulling up to the home of a customer.

The customer comes out and collects his package.

However, a vehicle soon pulls up in the cul-de-sac and robs the delivery driver.

The driver is robbed of his motorbike keys and his cellphone.

Fortunately, the customer gets into his property and closes the gate before he is accosted.

This has become a new trend with criminals following delivery drivers to their destinations.

Speaking to IOL, Uber said the safety of delivery people and the users of its platform were top priority and the new crime trend was concerning.

Uber’s head of operations for Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa, Charles Mhango, said the company was aware of isolated incidents reported to its safety team.

“We are monitoring the situation on the ground. Our Incident Response Team (IRT) is available 24/7 to respond immediately to any reported incidents.

“We understand that delivery people face unique challenges on the road, especially those on two wheels who may be more vulnerable, so we have various safety features tailored to them available at the touch of a button. These include a safety checklist, and emergency button, which dispatches private security to the delivery person in the event of an incident.

“We also have Partner Injury Protection provided by AIG Insurance to help support delivery people with the costs associated with injury while on trip,” Mhango said.

Uber also has a law enforcement relations team that is on call to work with police at any time to respond to urgent incidents.

Mhango has encouraged delivery people and platform users to report any incidents to its support team and police to ensure issues can be resolved.

“Uber remains open to working with the local authorities to co-create solutions that can improve the safety of users who use our platforms,” Mhango added.

Uber said it had initiated a safety sessions programme with the SAPS to address safety concerns.

It also urged customers not to wait outside for orders but select the “leave at door” option on its platform.

Customers can also contact the delivery person to co-ordinate an exact drop-off point

Bolt Food SA has condemned the targeting of couriers and customers.

Country manager at Bolt Food SA Tafadzwa Samushonga said everyone had a right to earn a living or order food from the comfort of their own home without fear.

“Bolt Food is aware of this growing trend where delivery couriers are being robbed while making deliveries.

“We encourage delivery couriers and customers to report any form of violence and crime during a delivery through the Support tab in the app immediately.

“We remain concerned about such incidents and will continue to monitor them to ensure we provide proper support to our affected delivery couriers and customers,” Samushonga said.

Any incidents should also be reported to the nearest police station to ensure a case number is secured.

“Once a case has been opened, SAPS can request information from any involved parties (including Bolt Food) that can assist in their investigation – but it is vital that this procedure is followed to enable Bolt Food to share that information with the authorities and for a proper investigation to commence.

“While delivering Bolt orders, delivery couriers are covered by Bolt Trip Protection, an insurance product that provides for emergency medical expenses, permanent disability, and accidental death. There is no cost to the courier for Bolt Trip Protection,” Samushonga added.

Security company Fidelity ADT has issued a warning to homeowners to remain alert when leaving their homes to collect food or other deliveries.

The company’s head of marketing and communications, Charnel Hattingh, has advised residents to carry a portable panic button when collecting deliveries.

“It’s no use if panic buttons are put in a cupboard somewhere and forgotten about. They need to be easily accessible and we recommend that you have them in a pocket or hanging around your neck for quick access. Panic buttons should also be checked regularly to ensure they are in good working condition.

“It is important to be vigilant when accepting deliveries. If you are expecting deliveries please be aware of your surroundings, and limit the amount of cash you carry – make sure you have the correct amount on you. Don’t wear expensive jewellery, and leave your cellphone in the house,” Hattingh said.

She also offered additional safety tips:

  • Do not open your gate.
  • Sign for items through the gate and make sure there is no one around before opening the gate to collect your goods.
  • If possible, install a second security measure such as a security gate with an intercom.
  • Ensure the area is well lit at night or carry a torch for extra visibility.
  • Make sure children are inside the house when accepting any delivery.

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