AKRON, Ohio (WJW) -- Pizza delivery drivers are on edge across the city of Akron after a string of armed robberies in recent weeks. Police officers are stopping by pizza shops around town to ease fears and offer potentially life-saving advice.
Akron police officer Calvin Barker visited several pizza shops Wednesday evening offering safety tips to owners, managers and especially delivery drivers.
"The drivers are caught off guard. They are often lured. Suspects are coming from around dimly lit properties and confronting the drivers," said Akron Police Lieutenant Michael Miller.
This past weekend, two pizza delivery drivers were robbed at gunpoint. There have been a total of eight similar robberies in Akron over the past three months. No one has been hurt.
Barker is among roughly 10 officers with the city's Neighborhood Response Team providing delivery driver safety handouts, made specifically due to the recent incidents.
They suggest drivers watch out for red flags, such as a home with no lights or that appears vacant.
"Do you have a current database that allows them to say 'Hey, well we've delivered to this location before?'" said Lt. Miller.
Miller says they are stopping by 75 pizza shops, although the victims have mainly been drivers for Domino's and Papa Johns.
"Most often they have a mask, most often they have dark clothing…We had one in West Akron, the particular delivery driver described four suspects in that particular case and they were described as young as ten, eleven, twelve years old," he said.
Investigators are also trying to figure out whether the drivers are being followed or lured to an area.
"Two recent cases in fact, the scheduled delivery was already made and then they were approached…we don't know specifically if the suspects have placed those calls...It's interesting because as soon, in some of those, as the driver gets out, they're confronted," said Miller.
Police say the robberies have happened in east and west Akron in areas already targeted by a department task force for gun violence.
They are not just asking for delivery drivers to be vigilant but also ask citizens to watch out and report any suspicious activity they see.