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Rideshare Drivers Demand Better Safety Measures From Uber And Lyft As Carjacking Epidemic Persists

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In the newest figures in the city's carjacking crisis, carjackings now total 367 so far this year, and Chicago Police said they have made 73 arrests.

On Tuesday night, rideshare drivers said they have had enough of the carjackings. CBS 2's Charlie De Mar met up with some drivers who took their safety demands right to Uber and Lyft.

The drivers taped their list of demands on the doors at Uber and Lyft in Chicago – asking for serious changes to the app that they say will put drivers safety first.

"About 10 seconds, and you know, they pulled the gun," said rideshare driver Mustafa Alawsi. "They asked me out. They took my phone."

Alawsi said he was carjacked last year.

"They think it's funny, the way they toy with our lives," he said.

Last week, a 48-year-old rideshare driver was shot in the chest and carjacked as he dropped passengers off on the 4200 block of West Maypole Avenue in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. A vigil was held near that spot Tuesday night.

"I'm not struggling to talk," said Lenny Sanchez. "I'm struggling not to cry."

Sanchez is a rideshare driver and an organizer with the Independent Drivers Guild.

"We want to see common-sense action taken immediately," he said.

Sanchez and the other drivers took their safety demands to Uber and Lyft's Chicago offices. They want the apps, for one, to require passengers to verify their accounts.

"The goodness of their heart to do something consciously to make their application less appealing to these carjackers," Sanchez said.

Of the 434 cleared carjacking cases by CPD, less than half were closed - meaning the CPD found all of the carjacking suspects involved and are not pursuing anyone else. The remaining 240 cases are considered cleared, but open - which means police have identified at least one person involved, but are still looking for others.

Tracking down the entire crew responsible in a carjacking is a challenge for police. That is why this group of rideshare drivers is asking for more protection.

Alawsi said he has stopped driving for Uber and Lyft because he was carjacked. Meanwhile, the problem for rideshare drivers persists.

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