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Crime Uber disclosed 3,000 sexual assaults in US rides last year in its long-awaited safety report

02:25  06 december  2019
02:25  06 december  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Lyft sued by 21 more women who allege sexual assault by its drivers

  Lyft sued by 21 more women who allege sexual assault by its drivers More than 50 women have now filed or joined lawsuits against the ride-hailing service, alleging it hasn't done enough to protect passengers from predators.The newest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court by Mike Bomberger, attorney with the law firm Estey and Bomberger. He's also representing 14 other women in a separate suit against Lyft. Another lawyer, Rachel Abrams of Levin Simes Abrams, has additionally filed 19 suits against Lyft over similar allegations.

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Uber Technologies Inc. found more than 3 , 000 allegations of sexual assaults involving drivers or passengers on its platform in the U . S . last year , part of an extensive and long - awaited review in response to public safety concerns.

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Uber disclosed 3,000 sexual assaults reported in U.S. rides last year in its long-awaited safety report, amidst widespread criticism of its safety practices and pressure to increase its transparency over the issue.

In a lengthy report, which divides sexual misconduct into 21 categories, Uber said it recorded 235 rapes last year and hundreds more reports of assault which could involve unwanted touching, kissing or attempted rape.

Lyft sued by 20 more women who allege sexual assault by its drivers

  Lyft sued by 20 more women who allege sexual assault by its drivers More than 50 women have now filed or joined lawsuits against the ride-hailing service, alleging it hasn't done enough to protect passengers from predators.The newest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court by Mike Bomberger, attorney with the law firm Estey and Bomberger. He's also representing 14 other women in a separate suit against Lyft. Another lawyer, Rachel Abrams of Levin Simes Abrams, has additionally filed 19 suits against Lyft over similar allegations.

In its first safety report , the ride -hailing company detailed sexual assaults , murders and Safety has been a long -running Achilles’ heel for ride -hailing companies, which depend on a large Reports of sexual assault and murders from ride -hailing trips have since become a regular occurrence.

The issue of sexual assault conflicts with Uber 's brand messaging to provide a "safe ride home." Last week, the company posted a sexual assault prevention video on its website to inform drivers CNN did not include most of these complaints in its tally of cases, because they could not all be

The report also examined other safety categories, including violent crimes such as physical assaults and motor vehicle deaths. Uber said there were 107 motor vehicle fatalities in 2017 and 2018 in a total of 97 fatal crashes involving users on the app. The company also said there were 19 fatal physical assaults.

It was the first time the company has released those numbers amid heightened scrutiny from lawmakers, advocacy groups and consumers to improve the safety of the app.

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Uber has been criticized over its safety practices and perceived stonewalling of law enforcement on sexual offenses. Its rival Lyft has faced lawsuits from at least 34 different women in San Francisco who allege they were raped or sexually assaulted on the app.

Twenty more women sue Lyft over 'inadequate' response to sexual assaults

  Twenty more women sue Lyft over 'inadequate' response to sexual assaults More women have accused Lyft of failing to protect them against sexual assault. A group of twenty women has sued Lyft over claims they were sexually assaulted or raped when the ridesharing company let "known sexual predators" offer service. The firm's response to these problems over the past four years has been "appallingly inadequate," according to the lawsuit. The complaint also accuses Lyft of hiding the extent of sexual assault issues, promoting a culture that silences victims and hindering police efforts to investigate cases.

In its report , Uber said 99.9% of its rides ended without any safety reports and that remaining 0.1% mostly detailed minor safety issues, like harsh braking. That leaves 0.0003% of rides that had "critical safety " incidents. Of those critical incidents, there were 19 fatal assaults and 464 rapes in 2017 and

Uber 's safety team released the figures after a BuzzFeed report based on an analysis of screenshots said internal reports showed " sexual assault " in 6,160 cases BuzzFeed on Sunday published its report based on an analysis of screenshots it said were provided by a former Uber customer service

Uber said it conducted the safety report with an eye toward transparency and improving the app for riders and drivers.

“Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society. And, most importantly, by bringing hard data to bear, we can make every trip safer for drivers and riders alike,” the company’s Chief Legal Officer, Tony West, said in the executive summary of the report. “The moment is now for companies to confront it, count it, and work together to end it.”

Experts note that sexual assault is a chronically underreported issue, however, and the figures were likely to undercount the true prevalence of sexual offenses on the app.

Uber also noted in its report that the numbers are largely dependent on victims coming forward. While Uber said that reports of sexual assaults declined by 16% in 2018 as compared to the year prior, that could increase again if victims know that the company is taking the issue seriously and feel more comfortable reporting.

Uber releases data on sexual assaults and fatalities in first ever safety report

  Uber releases data on sexual assaults and fatalities in first ever safety report The ride-hailing company reports 19 fatal assaults and 464 rapes happened during its rides in 2017 and 2018."Voluntarily publishing a report that discusses these difficult safety issues is not easy," Tony West, Uber's chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post Thursday. "Most companies don't talk about issues like sexual violence because doing so risks inviting negative headlines and public criticism. But we feel it's time for a new approach.

Last year , police in Austin, Texas reported they were investigating seven sexual assault claims against Uber and Lyft drivers. Uber tacitly admitted to deficiencies in its driver screening process when it agreed to pay out .5 million to settle two class-action lawsuits that took issue with its "safe

Uber ’s US Safety Report includes information about Uber ’s actions on safety , as well as data on the most serious This includes traffic fatalities, fatal physical assaults and sexual assault . Q: Why are you doing this report ? Most companies don’t talk about these hard issues, and they don’t share data

Along with Uber, Lyft has pledged to release a transparency report of its own. It was not immediately known when that report would be released.

a black sign with white text hanging from a building: FILE - This June 21, 2017, file photo shows the building that houses the headquarters of Uber, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)© Eric Risberg/AP FILE - This June 21, 2017, file photo shows the building that houses the headquarters of Uber, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Uber has a unit devoted to handling the most sensitive safety reports, but a September Washington Post investigation found that investigators are are instructed to keep the company’s interests foremost, including through restrictions on their ability to report apparent felonies to police and a ban at the time on sharing information with competitor Lyft about possibly dangerous drivers. The restrictions meant that some drivers who were banned from Uber or Lyft for violations like poor driving or even assaults on passengers could, with impunity, simply register as a driver for the other company.

More than 20 workers from the division, known as the Special Investigations Unit, said it is designed primarily to shelter the company from legal responsibility and quietly resolve serious allegations to avoid press or regulatory scrutiny. Uber has denied those claims.

Uber's first safety review contains thousands of sexual assault reports

  Uber's first safety review contains thousands of sexual assault reports Over the last few years Uber -- among other ridesharing services -- has been accused of failing to respond adequately to reports of sexual assault and other crimes linked to those on its platform. Now the company has released its first safety report (PDF), along with a number of notes about steps it's taking to make things safer for passengers and drivers. The nearly 6,000 reports of sexual abuse Uber said it has received over 2017 and 2018, or the 19 fatal physical assaults jump out of the pages of the lengthy report. While Uber correctly notes that even these are from just a fraction of a percent of the 2.

A first Uber ride ends in sexual assault charge. Lawmakers are demanding answers from ridesharing companies about sexual violence on their platforms. Lyft, Uber 's biggest US competitor, had 18 cases of its drivers accused of sexual assault or abuse in the past four years , according to a similar

A first Uber ride ends in sexual assault charge. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Last week, the company posted a sexual assault prevention video on its website to inform drivers and riders "how to create a safer community."

Scarce outside data on sexual assaults or deactivations at Uber exist. However data obtained from a public information request show that in Chicago alone more than 300 drivers were banned from Uber, Lyft and rival Via for allegations of sexual misconduct between January 2016 and August 2019. More than 1,100 of the nearly 70,000 active registered drivers in the city were barred for matters of safety during that time, according to the data, which showed that drug use or possession and traffic accidents ranked after sexual misconduct as the top reasons for a driver being blocked.

Uber’s report, which looked at the time period of 2017 and 2018, examined data during a time period for which it said an average of more than 3.1 million trips took place each day. The vast majority of those had no problem, it noted, placing that number at 99.9 percent.

Uber has made made safety changes as attention has been drawn to safety issues. Uber instituted an in-app safety tool kit with a 911 button so passengers can alert authorities immediately if they are in danger, and added check-ins for riders and drivers when trips veer too far off course. Meanwhile, Uber has given riders the option report uncomfortable interactions, such as invasive questioning or erratic driving, directly to safety specialists.

“We believe transparency fosters accountability,” Uber said last year when it pledged to release the report. “But truthfully, this was a decision we struggled to make, in part because data on safety and sexual assaults is sparse and inconsistent. .... Making things even more complicated, sexual assault is a vastly underreported crime, with two out of three assaults going unreported to police. But we decided we can’t let all of that hold us back.”

Greg Bensinger contributed to this report.

Former KC resident charged in 5 rapes in New Orleans now charged in 3 local sex assaults .
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Kansas City resident linked to at least five rapes in New Orleans is now facing multiple charges in Jackson County for three sexual assaults in 2004. Daniel Meridy has been charged with three counts of kidnapping, nine counts of armed criminal action, four counts of forcible rape, sodomy and sexual abuse. The 35-year-old lived in Kansas City from 2002 to 2015 before returning to his native New Orleans, WGNO reports.Court records say the KC sexual assaults happened in the areas of 38th and Troost, Armour and Troost and the 3900 block of Flora. Court documents providing further details on the assaults have not been released.

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