NYC delivery riders have formed volunteer patrol groups to protect each other amid a surge of armed thefts.
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.