COLUMBUS (WCMH) — After several reports of riders complaining of unwanted sexual advances the Columbus police Special Victims Unit released Thursday a list of safety tips for passengers utilizing ride services and taxis.
- Don’t ride up front, no matter what the driver says. – Being in the front seat might make the rider more vulnerable and open to an assault.
- Wait inside your house or a business until the ride arrives. – Being outside and alone might create a condition of exposure leaving oneself open to an assault. This also creates an opportunity for a non–sanctioned driver to prey upon a potential victim.
- Do not ride alone if you’re heavily intoxicated. – There is safety in numbers and heavy intoxication provides for conditions which could allow someone to be victimized, perhaps without knowledge.
- Confirm the driver is who it is supposed to be. – Technology can provide driver information and vehicle information. Another car or different driver is not going to be sent for you without your being provided with that information.
- Always use the dispatch or technology based service. – Do not accept personal cell phone numbers of drivers who promise to pick you up if you call them directly. This undermines safety precautions such as GPS put in place by the companies who operate these services.
- Do not share personal information with the driver. – A predator will try to gather personal information from you in the course of a casual conversation. Questions such as, “who knows where you are”, and “is there going to be anyone home when you get there”, should be a warning sign for riders.
- Trust your instincts – If something does not look right or feel right trust your instinct and seek immediate assistance from a trusted source. If you are already in the vehicle when this feeling of mistrust arises use your cellular telephone to call someone.
- Do not give your cell phone to the driver. – If the driver asks to see your telephone or offers to assist you with the app, do not give up your phone. This serves to further isolate you from outside assistance and makes you more vulnerable.