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Uber, Cook County Crime Stoppers Offer Rewards Of Up To $1,000 For Tips Leading To Carjacking Arrests

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Uber is teaming up with Cook County Crime Stoppers to offer rewards of up to $1,000 for tips leading to arrests in Chicago carjackings.

Uber is providing $25,000 to fund an effort to provide rewards of $200 to $1,000.

"Safety is our priority—for both riders and drivers. This partnership with Cook County Crime Stoppers and Uber builds on our recent efforts working with CPD and other law enforcement agencies to send safety information to drivers and assist with investigations into these terrible crimes," said Billy Kewell, a member of Uber's Law Enforcement Outreach team.

Cook County Crime Stoppers said, to be eligible for a cash reward, tipsters must call their tipline at 800-535-STOP or text their information to 'TXT2TIP.' After providing information, a personal reference code will be provided, which is required to claim a reward if the tip results in an arrest.

"Crime Stoppers and Uber thanks Chicago Police, the community and those working to keep the City safe. We understand this support is key in obtaining information needed to help solve these crimes. We're asking the community to please share what you know. Your information can be shared anonymously and CCCS does not need your name," said CCCS Chairman McDade.

The new program kicks off Thursday and runs through the end of September.

Carjackings in particular have left rideshare drivers alarmed in Chicago in recent months. They have been spiking dramatically in 2021 compared with the average for the past five years.

Chicago Police do not separate how many of the carjacking victims were rideshare drivers. But the gig workers believe they make up a large percentage of victims.

One driver, Javier Ramos, was killed last month by an Uber passenger in the Lawndale neighborhood.

Another, father of three Joe Schelstraete, was shot in the head in Cicero last week and later died.

Uber recently made it mandatory for new accounts using anonymous forms of payment to upload an ID. The Gig Workers Alliance wants all riders to upload pictures just as drivers themselves do.

Uber's app now has several safety features for both drivers and passengers.

The "emergency button" allows drivers to call or text 9-1-1 and sends real time location and trip information to dispatchers.

The "ride check" feature lets Uber check on drivers and riders in the event of a possible crash or unexpected long stop.

And "follow my ride" gives drivers a way to share their trip route in real time with family or loved ones.


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