It’s been a dangerous few weeks to be a delivery driver in Boston.
Twenty drivers have been robbed since the start of April, and last year a driver was killed by a group of young people that allegedly conspired to rob him when he made his delivery.
In response to the death and spike in overall delivery crime, city officials yesterday launched a training program that aims to help keep drivers safe.
“A lot of these are staged or set up,” said Sgt. Detective Dan Coleman.
The program was attended by some drivers and business owners who were offered advice to avoid suspicious or unknown numbers and to leave their car lights aimed at delivery locations.
Officials dubbed the program “Operation Safe Delivery.” It’s an initiative by Mayor Thomas Menino who was directly affected by last year’s murder of driver Richel Nova. Nova’s daughters worked in Menino’s office.
“We know you work hard to make a little extra for your families,” Menino said. “We’re here to work with you to make sure you’re safe.”
For new driver Michael Ridge, Jr., he said he realizes there’s a danger that comes with the job and already knows what drivers should do if confronted.
“You get people who run their mouth, say ‘Hey, give me that pizza,’” Ridge said while on his way to a delivery in Dorchester yesterday. “You ignore them.” It’s only a job.”
There have been 118 drivers robbed since the start of 2009.