New York delivery riders have formed night patrol groups to protect each other from armed thieves stealing their bikes

·2 min read
A Grubhub delivery driver rides near the Empire State Building lit up in purple in honor of World Cancer Day on February 04, 2021 in New York City.
A Grubhub delivery driver rides near the Empire State Building on February 04, 2021 in New York City. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
  • NYC delivery riders have formed volunteer patrol groups to protect each other amid a surge of armed thefts.

  • Attempted robberies of delivery workers increased 65% in 2020 - around a third were violent, and some turned deadly.

  • One rider told The Verge he biked a dangerous route to deliver a slice of cake and wasn't tipped.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

New York City delivery workers have formed volunteer patrol groups in order to protect each other from armed thieves attempting to steal their bikes, and a new report from The Verge sheds more light on the ongoing efforts.

NYPD data revealed robberies and attempted robberies of delivery workers increased 65% in 2020. Approximately one-third of the thefts were violent, while others turned deadly.

Villalva Vitinio, a 29-year-old delivery rider for Uber Eats and Doordash, refused to give up his electric bike to an assailant this March. He was then shot and killed, according to police reports.

As the thefts continued, Cesar Solano, a 19-year-old delivery worker from Mexico, co-founded "El Diario de los Deliveryboys en la Gran Manzana" with his older cousin Sergio Solano, The Verge reported.

Translating to "The Deliveryboys in the Big Apple Daily," the idea started out as a Facebook page documenting bike thefts and issuing warnings to fellow delivery workers.

According to The Verge, the Deliveryboys transformed into a civilian night patrol group, standing guard to protect riders who pass through notoriously dangerous areas like The Willis Avenue Bridge.

One night at around 1 am, the Deliveryboys stood watch as a rider appeared, his right arm bleeding from a knife wound. Per The Verge, a thief cut him while trying to steal his bike - but he got away just in time.

Solano told The Verge that having your bike stolen is economically crippling for New York's riders. He said he purchased his own bike with savings on his birthday - having it stolen would cause him to lose that original investment and future wages, something that has happened to his cousin twice this month.

The risks don't always outweigh the rewards. Solano told reporter Josh Dzieza that one night he rode from the Upper East Side, over two bridges, through Long Island City, and to Roosevelt Island just to deliver a singular slice of cake. The worst part - he arrived to no tip at all.

One New York City food-delivery worker told Insider's Natalie Musumeci and Grace Kay that he rode for an hour through Hurricane Ida and made a total of five dollars.

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