10 June 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Carjackings have plagued communities across the Twin Cities, but investigators say the surge is starting to subside.
Many times, rideshare drivers were the targets. Shaheen Yasir has been a full-time Lyft driver for three years. He says safety is a constant concern.
“A lot of people does have protection in their car,” Yasir said. “Me personally, I don’t have like any like pepper spray or a gun or a knife. Just hope God, you don’t be a victim.”
A spree of rideshare carjackings last fall spurred Minneapolis police to push out a crime alert. There’d been more than 40 robberies in just two months.
Now, MPD says crimes against Uber and Lyft drivers have dropped off close to zero.
Looking at carjackings overall, there have been about the same number in Minneapolis this year as at this time last year, but there have been fewer in recent months versus late last year.
In St. Paul, there have been 31 carjackings this year. Last year at this time, there had been 101.
“We take one carjacking incredibly seriously, but in the scheme of things, it’s a really small number of people who are victimized,” said Steve Linders with the St. Paul Police Department.
Police tell us the decline has come from arresting suspects and stopping repeat offenders. They also say people’s increased awareness and traveling in groups has kept passengers safer, too.
Some additional reminders for rideshare passengers from St. Paul police: Confirm the vehicle’s license plate before getting in, stay in the backseat, and don’t share anything too personal. It’s also a good idea to follow along on your own map app during the ride.
“If you order a vehicle and you walk up to the car and something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut,” Linders said. “Make other arrangements. Order another vehicle.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has served federal indictments against two men Wednesday for their role last fall in several carjackings of Uber and Lyft drivers. Prosecutors say more charges are likely coming in the near future.