Every time an Uber clone pops up, it is with some angle as to how the existing ridehail giants are letting its customers down by promising, for example, more environmentally friendly operations, more ethical labor practices, or a more luxurious experience. But a new Uber clone out of Atlanta is making a different pitch: Its drivers will have guns.
Black Wolf is an app that functions a lot like Uber but comes with the option of a bulletproof SUV and a gun-toting driver. While the ridehailing aspect of the business is new, Black Wolf, run by entrepreneur Kerry King Brown, has been around for a while, providing private security and “executive protection,” according to King Brown’s LinkedIn page.
“Who are mostly on the news getting robbed, getting raped? The average person. What I’m creating is a necessary evil. It’s a necessity,” Brown told Atlanta News First.
Black Wolf is the latest service catering to the crime hysterical, the type of person who views American cities as descending into a Mad Max-style violent free-for-all. The service pitches itself to executive-types who might need bodyguard protection, and also to "women, school kids, and regular people who want peace of mind in this crazy world," according to its website. The app even offers a "school shuttle driver" service, which is a "door-to-door solution for parents juggling work and family."
According to a survey conducted by Atlanta’s regional planning authority, crime was the biggest concern respondents expressed, despite the fact that property crime and violent crime are at historic or near-historic lows. Like most American cities, the modest rise in homicides is being driven in a few specific neighborhoods, is not a citywide trend, and are not the types of places people who can afford services such as Black Wolf regularly get ridehail rides to and from.
While Brown calls gun-toting SUVs a “necessary evil” to protect the average person, getting into the SUV is about as dangerous as getting out of it. It is difficult to directly compare homicides and vehicle fatality rates because one is measured on the city level and the other county level. But, last year, there were 170 homicides in Atlanta and in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available. Meanwhile, 154 people were killed by or in cars in Fulton County, where most of Atlanta is contained.