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MUPD puts out notice regarding rideshare apps

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MUPD puts out notice regarding rideshare apps

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Following the death of a University of South Carolina student, Marquette University Police Department put out a notice reminding students to remain safe when using ride-sharing services.

Samantha Josephson, a senior at USC, got in a car she thought was her Uber March 29 around 2 a.m., and was found dead 14 hours later, according to CNN. 

The car she got in was not affiliated with Uber.

Uber put out a statement regarding the incident.

“Since 2017, we’ve been working with local law enforcement to educate the public about how to avoid fake ride-share drivers,” an Uber spokesperson said. “Everyone at Uber is devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime, and our hearts are with Samantha Josephson’s family and loved ones. We spoke with the University of South Carolina President and will be partnering with the university to raise awareness on college campuses nationwide about this incredibly important issue.”

Uber launched a Check Your Ride awareness campaign on social media following the incident. It sent an email to riders and posted a video on Youtube advising riders to follow three safety steps.

The three steps were matching the license plate number to the number listed in the app, matching the model and make of the car and checking the driver’s photo.

“Once you have confirmed the information, get in, buckle up and enjoy,” the video said.

An Uber spokesperson said Uber has also promoted its in-app Safety Center, which includes providing riders the ability to establish trusted contacts with whom they can share their trip information with every ride and an emergency button that allows passengers to call 911.

MUPD’s reminder included safety tips to be followed when using ride-share services, such as waiting for a ride indoors, asking the driver who they are waiting for and sharing trip details with a friend.

“When something like (this) happens, normally we get a lot of concerned parents, faculty (and) staff that want to … make sure that students are aware of ways to keep themselves safe,” MUPD Capt. Ruth Peterson said.

Peterson said if students are concerned while using a ride-share app, they should immediately call 911.

“If (a student is) in (the Marquette) area, (they) can use the EagleEye app,” Peterson said.

Students can use the BlueLight phone feature on the app, which sends a call to the MUPD dispatch, she said.

She said students should not provide personal details such as phone number to drivers for ride-share apps. She said the apps provide a way for drivers and riders to communicate without sharing personal information. 

Peterson said rating drivers is also important as a driver’s rating can allow Uber or Lyft to get rid of any potential dangerous drivers. 

“We want to make sure we are providing everyone in the Marquette community the information that will help to keep them safe,” Peterson said.

“The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is the university’s highest priority,” university spokesperson Chris Stolarski said in an email. “We will use every available opportunity and medium to communicate with the Marquette community to help prevent unfortunate incidents and tragedies like what occurred at the University of South Carolina.”

Stolarski said the university supports MUPD’s message to take precaution and urges everybody to take advantage of MUPD resources such as the EagleEye app.

Karmen Rosiles, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she uses Uber about twice a week while at school.

She said she normally takes Ubers alone.

“(Her death) makes me kind of think about it,” Rosiles said. “I think it just makes the point that you have to be extra conscious, especially if you are going alone.”

Rosiles said sometimes people will think someone is fine because they are going to take an Uber, but that isn’t true.

She said if she gets in an Uber and is concerned, she will share her location with her friend.

“I think it’s really important to check you’re getting into the right Uber,” she said. “If it’s late at night or you’re intoxicated, make sure you go with a friend.”

She said, as horrible as the situation is, Uber can be safer than choosing to walk a large distance alone at night or drive drunk.

“I feel (MUPD’s notice) is helpful to give precautions and it’s good to use resources that MUPD gives, but also … it’s not going to stop me from using Uber,” she said.

She said the situation wasn’t an actual Uber driver. 

“Milwaukee is an urban area, which has its perks, but also if (something) can happen somewhere, it can happen anywhere,” Rosiles said.

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About the Writer
Annie Mattea, Assistant News Editor

Annie Mattea is an Assistant News Editor for the Marquette Wire. She is from Grayslake, Illinois and is majoring in journalism with a minor in digital...

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