Chicago, IL – Kevin Harvey is a driver for Uber and Lyft and knows with every ride he’s driving at his own risk.
“I personally have made the decision to just not really drive at all after the sun sets,” said Harvey.
He’s driven more than 2,000 rides between the two apps and even had a close call while delivering an UberEats order in the city.
“Everyone is going to have different situations and different comfort levels but situations like this are extremely scary especially for folks who are 100% relying on rideshare or similar apps for income,” said Harvey.
Harvey said he was about to drop off the customer’s food when he noticed a suspicious car following him.
“Luckily I got out of the situation safe so we’ll never necessarily know,” he said.
But other drivers are not so lucky. A 24-year-old Lyft driver told police he was carjacked near 43rd and Saint Lawrence Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood last Saturday at approximately 3 a.m.
The victim in that case was too traumatized to talk to NBC 5 on camera, but said he was picking up a passenger by the name of “Maurice.” The victim said Maurice had a friend with him.
The two men got into the victim’s 2016 black Lexus sedan and within seconds held the victim at gunpoint. The victim said he got out of the car and the men drove off. The victim said he ran down the street where he flagged down a Good Samaritan who called 911.
“We have seen many instances in which riders use phony accounts, bogus names, email addresses, or burner phones to request rides, and sometimes during those acts there are criminal acts that do follow,” said attorney Bryant Greening.
Greening is an attorney in Chicago and started a firm called LegalRideshare.
“It’s a public safety hazard certainly we would like to see the companies do more to protect drivers and to ensure driver safety,” he said.
Greening said violence against drivers has been one of the most underreported crimes in recent years.
“We get a lot of stories about violence against passengers,” he said. “I would say drivers are victimized at a much higher rate.”
A Lyft spokesperson told NBC 5 in a statement:
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident described is deeply disturbing. We have been in communication with the driver and continue to offer our support and assistance. We have deactivated the account used and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation.”
Another rideshare driver reported being carjacked at that same location in Bronzeville last month. Police are still investigating to see if there’s a connection between those two cases.