MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police have a safety warning for people who use ride-sharing services, after multiple sexual assaults have been reported across the city.
Over the past two weeks, four people have reported being inappropriately touched by a driver who claimed to be with a ride-sharing service.
“When that ride share gets there, they get into the vehicle and during the course of their travels, the driver touches them inappropriately,” said Sgt. Catherine Michal of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The crimes aren’t limited to one part of the city or to one gender.
Michal said three women and one man reported being assaulted: two of them in Uptown, one of them in downtown and the other in the southeast part of the city.
“Right now, investigators are trying to determine if it’s the same person or not. They are all giving the basic same description of a black male, mid-20s. But one is saying that it’s a Somali person,” said Michal.
Despite the new warning, some riders still say they feel safer in an Uber or a Lyft, rather than a taxi cab.
“With an Uber, at least there’s an app and there’s a way to trace that you were there. Oftentimes, when you have a cab, you are just hailing it on the side of the road and there’s no record of you ever being in that cab,” said Amanda Blanksmith, who says she typically ride shares when she’s traveling out of town.
Even with that tracking technology, authorities advise making sure the photo and the license plate in your app matches the person and the car that’s pulling up.
If you are ever unsure, don’t get in the car and call 911.
In three out of four of the reported assaults, police say the rider got into the front seat of the car with the driver.
If you are riding alone, always take a seat in the back.