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It’s always adorable when mainstream media reporters discovers the realities that millions of Americans deal with on a daily basis. In this case, it’s the fact that the huge and growing number of gig workers — people who deliver for businesses from local pizza joints to Grubhub, DoorDash, Instacart to Uber and Lyft drivers — are increasingly concerned about their safety while on the job.

NBC News’ Cirus Farivar apparently even ventured into the wilds of flyover country to talk to a range of gig workers whose spidey senses have been tingling over the last year as crime in urban areas has increased.

Police in several major cities, including Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., say carjackings and car thefts, particularly against gig economy drivers, rose during the pandemic.

Some drivers say that despite the companies’ best efforts, they are changing their hours, avoiding certain areas and even carrying weapons, like wasp spray, Mace, Tasers and firearms, to protect themselves.

Oh yeah…about those firearms.

[Instacart Driver Willy] Solis said that since [an Uber Eats driver was killed outside Fort Worth], he has stopped working after 9 p.m. and has considered carrying a gun. But he fears that if he violates gig companies’ rules not to carry firearms, he could risk losing his job.

“I’m very fearful every time I go out,” said Solis, who makes $800 to $1,000 a week before expenses and taxes. “I don’t want to lose my life over a $100 bottle of cognac or a fast food order.” …

“As the danger grows more and more, that’s what’s pushing me more towards the possibility of doing it,” Solis said about carrying a gun.

Imagine that. A perfectly rational response to the increased risk that Solis and tens of thousands of other gig employees deal with on a daily basis.

Virtually all of these services prohibit their drivers from carrying a firearm. As for mace, Tasers and wasp spray, that’s less clear. But as many drivers like Solis are deciding, it’s better to be able to defend yourself and (likely) lose your job than be injured or killed during a robbery or carjacking.

While the gig economy and its rapid growth are relatively new, the threats to these kinds of workers isn’t. NBC’s clueless Farivar writes that . . .

The attacks on drivers, which appear to have started last year, may be part of a larger trend of a rise in violent crime in major cities.

Oh well. He’s half right. Cabbies and pizza delivery guys have been targeted since, well, forever. And Uber and Lyft drivers have been targets since the services first spun up.

But with the explosion of delivery services in the last year during the pandemic, attacks, especially in urban areas, have escalated. Why? Because police departments have been defunded, jails have been opened, prosecutors don’t prosecute, and lots of those who are arrested are freed without having to post bail.

Thought experiment: if your goal was to create the ideal environment for increased urban violent crime (including those involving guns), is there anything you’d do in addition to what prosecutors, mayors, and city councils around the country have already been doing for the last year?

Anyway, as Farivar discovered but downplays in his article, lots of these drivers have decided to avail themselves of tools with which to defend themselves.

The good news is, the tech companies that employ these drivers are very concerned about the threats to their drivers.

DoorDash spokesperson Campbell Matthews said in an email that the company is “deeply troubled by reports of increased crime” and that it intends to add an “emergency assistance button into the Dasher app to help connect Dashers to emergency services.”

In a statement, Grubhub spokesperson Grant Klinzman echoed Matthews’ remarks, saying the safety of the company’s drivers “is our top priority” and that the company was “ready to support law enforcement investigations … as they take steps to address the unacceptable spike in vehicle thefts.”

Lyft spokesperson Ashley Adams said that the company considers safety to be “fundamental” and that “we are working closely with law enforcement to help keep drivers safe.”

Good to know.

These gig workers aren’t stupid. They talk to each other, read the reports, and have seen the videos. They know the increased risk they’re taking every time they go out to make a living and they know that there’s less and less being done by police and local governments to deter what’s happening to them. That’s why more of them like Mr. Solis will be choosing to carry firearms, no matter what the companies they work for say about it.

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  1. I gotta get me some of that wasp spray. You aim it at the bad guy and a stream of wasps come out.

    • I’d like a gun that shoots a stream of those Asian “bullet hornets”. Every sting feels like a bullet wound!
      Leftists couldn’t ban that because it’s ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY!

    • That actually sounds friggin awful. I would totally back the hell off is someone had something like that.

    • All day long Fox News has been reporting that Biden is going to limit everyone’s red meat consumption. After he does that then I bet our guns are next.

      • Obviously, since we would use our guns to bet us some red meat, right? After I shoot me some cow, I’d need to YouTube some video on what to do with it!

      • That is some funny stuff right there! I had to try and keep a straight face because I was on a zoom class while watching it, but the Unwelcome Mat was a bridge too far; “it will Westinghouse the shit out of somebody,” man that was hilarious!

  2. ANY company that disrespects your ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE is a company that can go to hell. GET WOKE, GO BROKE!!

  3. Good to know that Uber and Lyft are so willing to give lip service to the safety of their drivers.

    • No. To the safety of the criminals so they don’t get sued when one of their workers defends themselves.

    • Rusty – Chains,

      I came to echo a similar sentiment. The primary concern of those companies is PROFIT. Period. Full stop. The safety, health, and well-being of their employees is a distant second–and at that only related to concerns about lost productivity rather than genuine concern for employees’ well-being.

      Pro Tip: robust businesses have zero reliance on any given employee since any given employee could fail to produce for countless reasons (e.g. quitting, imprisonment, severe illness, death, etc.)–thus all employees are quite literally expendable at robust businesses. Since you are expendable at your job or business, plan accordingly.

  4. ‘…is there anything you’d do in addition to what prosecutors, mayors, and city councils around the country have…’

    Is there anything you could do in addition to what Democrats around the country…

    Fixed that for you.

  5. Rising crime? Urban areas? This piece is laden with racist dog whistles. Somebody should tell these gig’ers to stop being so racist.

    Maybe they can just deny device to the “hot zones” like so many pizza delivery joints in the 90’s. I supposed that’d be racist as well.

    • @Shire-man

      That’s a good idea…unfortunately, the criminal element is constantly expanding their area of operations in search of easier business opportunities victims.

      • @Southern Cross

        …and a happy Tuesday to you…anything important happening tomorrow that we (over here) should know about today before it gets here?

        I realize that my answer is going to draw accusations of rassissism, but, here goes…

        Get a job and punch a time-clock like most productive members of society.

        • If I have “white privilege” will someone let me know when I have it? For the last 25 years it has felt like a burden and impediment.

          Unlike many other white folks even, I used my opportunities for education productivity. I worked hard and used the rewards to improve my lot in life instead of for immediate gratification. I have a modest house, an adequate car, eat well enough, in good health, and can enjoy my hobbies. Most needs are met with a few wants.

        • Ain’t that the truth. I’ll go even further. I’m flaky and have trouble holding a job. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a job, but rather that I change jobs far more frequently than most. But for 25 years I’ve done it within one field. Over time “flaky and can’t hold a job” morphed into “wide range of experience”. Even if you have some issues, getting educated and getting into a particular field and just sticking it out and staying in it helps a lot.

          On the subject of the article, I drove for uber and lyft some years ago for some extra side cash when the OT and PRN work in my field was slacking. In fact for a while I was the only Lyft driver in my area. I always carried. You never see a supervisor or manager and the only way you are going to get caught is if a customer sees it and reports you. It is far safer to carry in a gig job than in any traditional job, and I know plenty of people who take that risk all the time.

        • Main likelihood of discovery is if you actually need to use the gun, in which case losing your job is probably much preferred to being victimized by the criminal who had to be deterred.

        • @LarryinTX

          I know…the only way I could be happier is if it was Mad Maxine’s or Piglosi’s seat that we’re going to fill.

          The DNC Dark Money will be flooding the State for the 2022 election…lies and good-feeling promises will be the fodder they offer to Montana voters…heck, we’ll probably get busloads of imported DNC “Brownshirts” flooding our cities/towns to “encourage” the correct vote. Can guarantee that the first people and businesses that are threatened by AntiFa / BLM thugs will be surprised by “We, the People’s” response to their aggression, intimidation and harassment.

  6. Imagine how safe your employees, uh, I mean, subcontractors would be if you advertised that everyone who delivers under your banner is free to arm themselves for their protection! But till then, does anybody make a combination wasp/bear spray?

    • This was my consideration.

      If they simply made it known that any driver that was permitted by the State and/or locality to carry a weapon was allowed to do so while on duty the Criminals would soon find out about it but have no possibility of knowing which driver in which vehicle might be the one with a .357 snubby in the console.

      Problem solved.

      But then of course there’s the occasional problem of the driver himself being a criminal. More than one case of a driver raping a passenger has been reported. How f’ing stupid or desperate does that guy need to be?

      For the record, I drove for Uber for about 4 months when they first started in Las Vegas. I never left the driveway without my Ruger SR9c in the console, company policy or not.

      • One of the fears considered by employers is that if the bad guys just assume every driver is armed, they’ll just shoot first. They’re hoping that by making everyone a soft target, the bad guys won’t feel threatened by them. Today’s domestic terrorists don’t care either way.

  7. Well there’s a pandemic( he he)of carjackings/violent crime here in Cook county. 2 years ago the local po-leece charged through my yard chasing a jacker. They got him. And Uber/Lyft &cabbies & various other folks are constantly targeted. You’d have to be a bit slow NOT to be armed. Sure was “safer”when I lived in the big city in the 1980’s…

  8. Because gunms, people defending themselves.

    Sad its come to using wasp spray though.
    I dont think getting sprayed in the face would do much good unless you had a match in front of it.

    • possum….. Just think what kind of money you could make by selling an inexpensive, reliable and compact igniter that would mount to any wasp spray can !!!

  9. While it’s insane that anyone driving for Uber or Lyft *isnt* armed (especially since those companies don’t exactly send out employees to periodically search drivers’ cars), these types of polices are largely a result of the moronic way legal liability is setup in this country, no different from a store playing it safe and “banning” guns from the premises. If Uber “allows” drovers to possess weapons, they themselves are liable for millions if an armed driver does anything wrong. But if a driver is harmed specifically because company policy prevented them from defending themselves, then they are not liable. It’s massively fvcked up the way liability laws are written, but as the saying goes don’t hate the player, hate the game

    • The drivers are not employees. They are suckers, err, “independent contractors”.

  10. Hey moronic “journailist”

    ““I’m very fearful every time I go out,” said Solis, who makes $800 to $1,000 a week before expenses and taxes”

    So’is did NOT “MAKE” $800-1000. Idiot. Solis GROSSED $800-1000. NET (=make/profit) likel was $2-400 (=jackshit). Typical prog nonsense. WHY do idiots fart around with these prog scams of Lyft/Duber. GET THE HELL OUT OF YOUR CESSPOOL CITY. Morons

  11. I got carjacked by my Lyft passengers in November 2019. Fortunately, the extent of my damages was about $2k in damage to my vehicle. The “driver” was already on probation for two other robberies and was skipping the drug tests required by his probation. His “punishment”: More probation. Only other guy to be sentenced so far also got probation.

    I carry bear spray. If I carried a pistol, my customers would find out when I’d have to notify the cops during a stop. If a customer informed Uber/Lyft, I’d be done.

    I’m sure some of my fellow drivers do carry. With the way things are going, I don’t blame them. I have not driven since last March when COVID shut things down. With my previous car jacking experience and the uptick in car jackings in my area, I’m in no rush to drive again.

  12. Texas needs a LAW protecting the rights of gig workers to carry. They are NOT employees and not on company property. Ban companies restricting carry for contract drivers.

    • Yeah, I was wondering about that. It’s my car, and my time, it’s none of the company’s business what I carry, since I WOULD carry. If you need to shoot someone, drive away, perhaps nobody notices, and otherwise there are other jobs.

  13. I love those bland corporate-speak assurances the companies gave that literally won’t do anything to keep anyone safe. A button that connects you to 911 doesn’t do you any good when there’s an (illegal) gun in your face and the defunded cops are 10 minutes away.

    • Plus, your phone ALREADY has a button that connects to 911 — it’s the damn CALL button. You know, the reason we call that handheld device a phone. The ability to call the police was never in question.

  14. Just a question from an uneducated reader from across the pond:
    If I understand correctly Uber policy is to forbid their drivers to carry during service.
    Do they have an insurance cover to compensate the driver who becomes a victim of a crime during service?

    • The short answer is no. Uber does not offer insurance that covers crime.
      Drivers can opt to buy commercial insurance from Uber, but it only covers accidents.
      Besides, even if they did offer to compensate you for crime, that’s of little help when you’ve been shot, paralyzed or maimed for life, raped or killed.
      And if you become disabled because the customer decided to stab you or beat you about the head, (instead of shoot you), disability insurance is small comfort when you can no longer walk or feed yourself

        • Montana’s famous cowboy philosopher, Elmer Keith, always emphasized that bigger is better.

          My personal favorite is the 11.43 mm…cause the extra 2.43 mm is like having three additional .9mm’s working for you…!

  15. The problem with these woke corporate big shots, aside from being totally spineless, is that they are protected by armed security at their headquarters buildings so they can’t relate to their employees’ concern about their safety on the street. All the big media, social media, politicians and bureaucrats that make policy are all protected at their headquarters by armed security. It’s easy to make a ‘gun-free’ policy for your underlings from an office protected by armed guards.

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