每日英語跟讀 Ep.K107: ‘My Turn to Get Robbed’: Delivery Workers Are Targets in the Pandemic
The delivery of restaurant orders and other goods has become a bigger part of daily life across the nation since the pandemic forced millions of people indoors. And in New York City the delivery workers have become a lifeline for people working from home and for vulnerable residents who have been warned against going outside.
On any given day thousands of men, and a growing number of women, can be seen crisscrossing city arteries, transporting takeout, groceries and medicine in plastic bags on top of their well-worn bikes.
But their visibility has also made them targets for opportunistic criminals looking for a quick profit through robbery, as the unemployment rate has spiked into the double digits and economic desperation has grown in the city’s less affluent neighborhoods, which were already hit hard by the pandemic.
Stolen electric bikes can be easily sold on the streets for cash or dismantled for their parts. The bikes can cost thousands of dollars and are vital tools for the workers, who often make less than $60 a day. Many have come to rely on the bikes, because they can go about 20 mph, enabling workers to travel farther and make more trips to increase their slim bottom lines.
The theft of electric bikes doubled during the first year of the pandemic, rising to 328 in 2020.
Investigators said robbers often use fraudulent credit cards to call in bogus orders and lure delivery workers to secluded locations. The delivery workers then are faced with two dire options: let go of the pricey bikes they need to remain employed or risk injury and even death.
“We believe more often than not it is a setup,” said Rodney Harrison, the New York Police Department’s chief of department.
The northern section of Manhattan, Southern Brooklyn and the Bronx have seen the biggest spikes in robberies, investigators said. Most of the victims were threatened with sharp objects, guns and other weapons.
There were about 50,000 commercial cyclists in New York in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, city transportation officials said. That figure has since soared, by some activists’ estimates, to about 80,000.
In October, more than 1,000 protesters joined a demonstration outside City Hall organized by a collective known as Los Deliveristas Unidos to call attention to the robberies and other poor working conditions, including low pay, a shortage of protective gear, and a lack of places to rest or use a restroom.
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5332541