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Preventing Pizza Robberies
Robberies of pizza delivery drivers are a serious and growing problem in
many cities in the United States. Much like the extremely high risk of
robberies that taxi drivers and late-night convenience store workers
face, pizza delivery persons are being robbed in ever increasing numbers
these days. The problem has now grown to the point that there is
scarcely a day that goes by without at least one pizza delivery driver
being robbed somewhere in this nation.
The problem can be
attributed to several factors including the fact that pizza delivery
drivers are usually alone and they make deliveries to unknown areas late
at night. Both are factors that make them easy targets for would-be
bandits. Delivery drivers also usually carry at least enough cash to
make change for a $20, and sometimes much more. It does not take a
master criminal to call in an after-dark delivery at a vacant house and
ambush the driver when he arrives. The thieves can count on getting away
with a few pizzas and some cash at the very least.
It is not
cost effective to have delivery drivers' work in pairs, since it's a job
that will usually only support one person at a time. Most delivery
drivers don't have permits to carry weapons of their own and who wants
to get into a life and death gun battle over $20 anyway? Better just to
hand over the pizza and the cash, but many robberies take a violent turn
and it is not uncommon for drivers to get shot, stabbed or beaten in
the process of getting robbed. Pizza delivery can be a good job, but it
is definitely not worth losing your life over. It might be different if
pizzerias could afford to equip every urban delivery driver with an
armored van that resembled something the A-Team might have used, but
that approach is obviously cost prohibitive in the real world.
area of the country that has seen a big jump in robberies of pizza
delivery drivers is Dayton, Ohio, where there have been 17 armed
robberies and five unarmed robberies of pizza drivers so far this year.
As a result, the Dayton Police Department has begun a new campaign to
put a halt to robbers targeting pizza delivery drivers in that city.
Dayton Police held a training session for 60 local pizza delivery
drivers where they were briefed on the situation in Dayton and given a
list of all the houses that are currently vacant in the city. The police
also furnished lists of suspicious phone numbers that have been
previously associated with robberies in the city, and strategies of
action to utilize when a delivery situation just doesn't seem to feel
right. The campaign also employed teams of detectives and patrol
officers cruising known robbery hot spots. The officers worked in
unmarked patrol cars to monitor any suspicious activity late at night
and into the early morning hours.
How many crimes the new
campaign will prevent will be hard to measure, but it did not take long
for the Dayton Police to get some results. The plan seems to be working
as evidenced by a recent late-night shootout and arrest of a would-be
pizza delivery robber. A sharp-eyed pizzeria employee noticed that a
delivery order came from a phone number that police said had been
connected with a previous pizza robbery and a sting was set up with a
police officer posing as deliveryman. During the attempted delivery a
lone gunman opened fire on the masquerading officer and then fled while
continuing to fire at other officers present, who immediately returned
fire. The robber survived several gunshot wounds and was later arrested
at a local hospital. The police officers were unhurt and the real pizza
delivery driver was unhurt as well.
The Dayton plan seems to be
working as designed and more positive cooperation on the part of local
police and pizza delivery drivers in every American urban area would
probably not be a bad idea. If delivery driver robbery is a growing
problem in your own town, talk to your Police Department to see if you
can implement something similar in your area.
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