City Blames New Uber Rental Bike Service for Uptick in Violence

The Providence Journal is reporting an uptick in violent crime in Providence, Rhode Island since the installation of Uber-sponsored Jump rental bikes.

August 15, a group of nearly 100 young people broke into the Jump bikes and cruised around the city blocking traffic, assaulting individuals and vandalizing and stealing from a Dollar Tree store.  The next day more Jump bikes were stolen with the perpetrators wreaking havoc at India Point Park. Last month there were several violent incidents including one when another group of 10 people entered a 7-Eleven, threw products on the floor and took food and other items, riding away on the bikes.

These incidences graduated to assault last week when a 36-year-old man was struck simply because he told a group of juveniles on bikes not to block a street. They responded by circling the man and punching him in the face.  Another woman said she was leaving a parking lot when a gang of kids on bikes hit her side mirrors, and began opening and closing her car doors, at one point hitting her in the head.

Providence police are accusing the bike company of not responding fast enough to the Department’s complaint that the rental bikes are too easily broken into, providing ready access to juveniles wanting to roam the city intimidating people. The frustrated Chief of Police, Hugh T. Clements Jr. said  “that’s their responsibility. If they’re putting bikes out in the community, they should have a more definitive way of ensuring who is operating those bikes.”

Other cities have reported e-scooters and bikes are being vandalized and stolen, sometimes finding them in lakes and trash bins.  Boise, Idaho had a problem with the bikes marking up sidewalks and pedestrians walkways, but none of the cities are dealing with the kind of violence, ie. stealing the bikes and using them to commit crimes, that is happening in Providence.