Attacks on delivery workers drop dramatically thanks to bodycams

The dozens of food delivery apps existing today mean ordering goods and services is just a click away. They also have flooded our streets with thousands of delivery workers, who face threats, serious injury and sometimes even death during their daily duties.

Bodycams ZEPCAM round below

The worrisome trend of violence against delivery workers transcends borders, with reports of attacks on food delivery drivers from Sydney to New York. In London, delivery workers are mainly worried about criminal gangs, which target them for their transport (usually motorcycles or mopeds).
The death of delivery worker Francisco Villalva Vitinio, during an armed robbery in East Harlem in the spring of 2021, highlighted the lack of protection and rights gig workers have in the U.S. Some delivery workers say violence, or at the very least the threat of it, is an almost daily part of their job, making it clear more efficient security measures are needed.

Bodycams increase feelings of safety in delivery workers

Research from the CCV (center for crime prevention and safety) shows that an increasing number of food delivery workers were robbed in The Netherlands in the past three years. In 2017, 37 delivery workers were targeted, in 2018 there were 95 and in 2019, 130 food delivery workers were robbed. The impact of a robbery is great, both for the victim and for those around him.

A successful bodycam pilot and project in the city of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, demonstrates the added value of bodycams for delivery workers. The pilot and project involved pizza delivery workers, who experienced no assaults while wearing bodycams and reported feeling safer.

After reading about a similar project with bodycams in Rotterdam, Ferdi Overeem, Neighbourhood Safety Coordinator in Nijmegen, was happy that bodycams could also be trialled in Nijmegen.

The pilot and subsequent project in Nijmegen took place from October 24, 2020 to the first of March 2021. According to Overeem, this is the perfect time to trial bodycams, as there is a statistical increase in the number of assaults and street crime during this period. There are less people on the streets, setting the perfect scene for criminals to assault people and steal from them.

Important learnings

Pizza chain Domino’s was eager to participate in the pilot, after positive experiences with a similar trial in Rotterdam. Marianne Kemps, PR and communications manager at Domino’s, explains that they have dealt with robberies in the past and that it is their responsibility to do everything to prevent this. Collaborating with Nijmegen was a logical step. “You can make a difference together with other parties such as municipalities and the CCV,” says Kemps.

The corona crisis means delivery workers no longer carry cash (contactless payment is the norm), eliminating a big motivating factor for robbers and leading to less incidents. However, Kemps and Ferdi Overeem consider the project a success, as money isn’t the only reason to bother delivery workers. Things like pizza’s, mobile phones or transportation methods can also get stolen and threats and aggressive behaviour are always around the corner. Once the bodycam has been activated, it also records the last 30 seconds, which heightens the feelings of safety of delivery workers.

Among the good things to come out of the project, Ferdi Overeem names the positive experiences and extra feelings of safety, but also the renewed awareness of the importance of safety as a whole in the region. The de-escalating effect of bodycams result in a reduction incidents and increase trust. Overeem hopes that other municipalities will also carry out the project and says a colleague from Utrecht has already contacted him about this. Municipalities can then go on to give each other tips and support each other.

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