Uber raises concerns

With the help of a phone, anyone can access Uber anywhere. (Photo illustration: Bridgette Conniff)

“Uber is the smartest way to get around. One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.” The Uber website boasts how simple the app is to use, and how with just a few taps, you can easily access a driver who will take you wherever your heart desires. If you take a look at many Mercy girls’ phones, you may very likely find they use Uber app. But is Uber actually safe?

Uber driver Jason Brian Dalton has been charged with six counts of murder for a shooting rampage in Kalamazoo on Feb. 21. According to CNN, the rampage went on for seven hours and between shootings, Dalton continued to pick up fares. Dalton admitted his involvement in the murders, but the motive is unknown.

“We just can’t figure out the motive,” Kalamazoo’s public safety chief Jeffrey Hadley told CNN. “There’s nothing that gives us any indication as to why he would do this or what would have triggered this. This victims did not know him; he did not know the victims.”

The randomness of these killings sounds like something out of a horror film. Law enforcement and people everywhere are stumped by the randomness of these killings, given that Dalton had no prior criminal record and was a typical married father of two. Now that the crimes have made national headlines, all eyes are on Uber and its safety policies.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Uber issued a statement that Dalton had passed its background check, and he had no “red flags.” Dalton even had a high satisfaction rating on the app (4.73 out of five stars.)

These random shootings have many people, such as senior Alexia Stylianou, expressing fear about using Uber.

“My sister goes to Michigan State and she uses Uber all time since she doesn’t have a car there,” said Stylianou. “I’m definitely concerned for her safety now.”

Despite the deadly Kalamazoo shootings and concerns of many customers, Uber does not plan on changing its background check policy, something that angers senior Leah Quinn, a frequent Uber user.

“I’m a little insulted that Uber isn’t going to improve their background checks,” said Quinn. “I’m a pretty loyal customer so it’s a slap in the face.”

Until now Stylianou has felt comfortable using Uber, most recently using the app to get a ride to a concert.

“My mom didn’t want me to drive to this concert in downtown Detroit, so my friends and I took an Uber,” said Stylianou. “I didn’t feel threatened in the Uber; the driver was actually really nice. Hearing [about the Kalamazoo shootings] definitely scares me, though, and might prevent me from using the app in the future.”