Local rideshare drivers react to targeted attacks, warnings in Minneapolis

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Some rideshare drivers remain on edge tonight after the weekend brought city-wide warning in Minneapolis as robberies and armed car jackings of Uber and Lyft drivers continue to spike. Minneapolis Police say as many as 50 car jackings and robberies have taken place in the city since August, and about a dozen of those happened within just the last week.

However, police in the Valley say it’s a much different and safer story here.

Brian Weidner has been driving full-time for Uber for a little over three months.

“I try to put as much confidence into them as they do with me,” he said.

Weidner says seeing the news out of the twin cities this weekend was somewhat of a wake-up call for him and his rideshare driving friends.

“Wow. It’s really happening. It can happen anywhere,” Weidner said.

He says throughout his time with Uber he has thought about adding safety measures including putting up a barrier between the backseat and himself, as well as interior and exterior cameras, but he says he has yet to pull the trigger.

“I don’t think it will happen, but you never know,” he said.

Both West Fargo and Fargo Police say they haven’t been called to any robberies or car jackings of ride share services, and the only somewhat similar call Moorhead Police have responded to was the murder of a Doyle Taxi cab driver earlier this spring.

“I’ve had some close calls and it just really depends on the people. Their demeanor is what I’ve learned to look for. If they’re like, really fidgety or can’t stand still or can’t keep a conversation with you, that’s a red flag right there,” Weidner said.

Weidner says he has his own set of safety rules which include staying away from downtown, not picking up additional passengers during an ongoing ride and refusing service to riders when something doesn’t seem right. He encourages other drivers to make their own rules, too, as it’s better to be aware and prepared.

“Just be mindful of where you are and if it doesn’t seem right, go with your gut,” Weidner said.

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