Bureau of Labor Statistics data show delivery drivers account for nearly 20% of all occupational fatalities and are 1.8 times more likely to be killed on the job than police officers—startling statistics reflecting the need for businesses to include field workers in their assessments of crime risk.
It’s a troubling trend with tragedy behind every data point:
- Robert Williams, a father of seven, was shot and killed while sitting in his delivery truck in a neighborhood in Jackson, MS.
- Noel Njoku, a 48-year-old father of four, was delivering food in Mitchellville, MD, when he was shot multiple times while inside his vehicle.
- A 31-year-old Uber Eats driver was robbed of her cell phone and stabbed to death by two 14-year-olds while out on delivery.
From road rage incidents, and robberies, to attacks with unclear motives, victimization of delivery drivers has become routine. Carjackings are up across the country, including 300% in Minneapolis, 143% in Washington DC, and ten-fold in Louisville, KY—and the ubiquity of home deliveries is cited as a primary cause.
Criminologists explain that in certain neighborhoods the prospect of delivery drivers, unfamiliar with the area, who may leave a vehicle running while dropping off packages, is proving to be an irresistible mix for local thieves. In one story, DoorDash driver Jeffrey Fang returned to his minivan after dropping off an order at a San Francisco address to discover two men inside. The carjackers drove away after pushing Fang out of the vehicle—with his two young children, ages 4 and 1, still buckled in their seats.
“We are driving around with targets on our backs,” said Kevin Nelson, an organizer for the advocacy group Chicago Independent Drivers Guild, in a statement.
Better Alignment of Risk and Protection
“Any company that is part of last-mile delivery has a responsibility to understand what the risks are for the individuals who perform that job” “Any company that is part of last-mile delivery has a responsibility to understand what the risks are for the individuals who perform that job,” according to Brittain Ladd, a retail and supply chain consultant and board member of the GMU Center for Retail Transformation. Ladd advises companies to consider risks related to weather if streets are dangerous in terms of infrastructure such as lacking bike lanes, and—most critically—the risk from crime. “They need to do a crime risk threat assessment if they haven’t already,” he warned.
It’s imperative that companies can accomplish this with help from CAP Index’s CRIMECAST Reports and Data. Critical for understanding the risk of crime for a targeted address, the heat-map view calculates CAP Index Scores for every point on the map with colors shaded to indicate its corresponding risk level, providing business and security leaders the ability to visualize crime risk that empower better operational and security decisions. Based on its understanding of area risk, companies can develop protocols and take appropriate solutions to shield people and inventory when off-site.
After a critical examination of reliable data, Ladd said companies could decide that the risk of crime in some areas is simply too great, catalyzing new, safer models of operations. Delivery services in areas with the highest crime risk scores might instead create ‘Safe Zone Pick-Up’ locations where customers can get deliveries through pick-up windows in reinforced, bullet-proof portable containers. It’s just one idea, but businesses must devise solutions that match the risk in areas where they send employees, Ladd suggested. “While serving the needs of the business, we still have to protect our associates,” he said.
While delivery drivers are an instructive example, they are merely representative of the changing definition of ‘workplace security.’ For many sales representatives, home care and social services workers, and field employees, the workplace is wherever they go.
Meeting Security Needs of the New ‘Workplace’
Protecting personnel from harm is every organization’s top priority, and to meet this mission private businesses have focused on erecting protective shields around the workforce. Most of the sophisticated security technology that companies have purchased in the last decade reflects that effort, including electronic access control, surveillance cameras, and perimeter detection devices. Businesses have spent millions to keep out intruders and for years this model has helped private businesses meet their goal of protecting workers.
This protection model has limitations, however, as approaching personnel security with a bunker mentality only offers security when employees stay in the bunker. But today’s employees are less likely than ever to be under a company’s protective shield. Supported by mobile technologies, they are often on-the-go, traveling to emerging markets, or working remotely from home or client sites. As the nature of the “workplace” has evolved, so must the strategies to keep workers safe.
Although the challenge is different, the process is like that of site protection—starting with a risk assessment. For an employer to implement the most appropriate security solutions for its mobile workforce, protection professionals first need to identify the particular risks facing this population:
- Cultivate data sources to better understand where employees travel for work and where they work from. These may include GPS data, remote login data, travel itineraries, mileage reimbursement reports, and other sources that indicate locations of interest.
- Obtain data that depicts the risk of crime in the areas where employees perform work. Crime risk scores will suggest specific actions that it may make sense to take, such as extending to a certain department security awareness training against the crimes that risk scores show they might encounter.
- Communicate with mobile workers (via focus groups, surveys, one-on-one discussions, etc.) to get their feedback on security and safety risks they perceive while away from the office.
- Make sure the design of the security incident reporting system is sufficient to capture events that happen to workers when they are away from company property, including all threats. Security incident report forms should include a data field for identifying the exact location of the employee at the time of the incident.
Data makes it clear that companies must adopt a broader view of workplace security to include wherever workers go. They must know the risk scores for those locations and develop security controls that workers can “take with them.”
Personnel security still requires providing workers with a physically secure location in which to perform work, but it also requires an effective framework for managing security issues and addressing risks when the company has little or no control over the location itself.
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CAP Reports are critical to my risk assessments. They have enabled us to take a more surgical approach to investing in our stores that need it the most.
Senior Manager of Asset Protection
Five Below, Inc.
CAP Index is the first tool I turn to when time is of the essence. I can always depend on CAP Index to provide me qualified crime information within a very few minutes that I feel comfortable reviewing with the C-Suite.
Stephen A. Brown, CPP
Director, Corporate Security / Facility Security Officer
Burns & McDonnell
CAP Index data is a vital part of our security decision-making process.
Keith McGlen, CPP, CHPA
Associate Vice President
System Security Services
Memorial Hermann Health System
CRIMECAST® Reports have helped our organization for many years to proactively assess the particular risk for crime surrounding our facilities. The CAP Index® CRIMECSAST Platform is an easy-to-use online service that provides us with the flexibility to share and decentralize crime risk data within our North America business units.
Carlos J. Cortez,
Manager, Global Security Programs,
Kraft Foods, Inc. / Mondelez International
Our property selectors are not discouraged from a site just because it receives a high score. What we do is issue every store – all of them – a security classification. The classification determines how we allocate our security resources to that store.
CAP Index's online platform, CRIMECAST, is great. It is easy to use and quick!
Bank of America
In industries where there is high public contact and a customer is coming to our location (such as retail), why would you leave it to chance when planning security when there is an easy, affordable tool? When investing a million dollars on a location, what is this small charge compared to what it may cost you when you get sued?
CAP Index assessments are a must for anyone engaged in asset protection. The new website is much improved and as important, easy to navigate.
The Williams Companies
We have been using CAP Index for a few years and include it in our security vulnerability assessments. Highly recommend it.
Director, Protective Services
Nationwide Children's Hospital