WASHINGTON — In a safety report released by Uber, the company received 3,045 reports of sexual assault during rides in 2018.
In addition to tracking sexual assaults, the safety report also detailed reported instances of deadly physical assault, and deadly motor vehicle accidents over the last two years.
"The numbers are gut-wrenching, and it's a hard truth," the Executive Director of the DC Rape Crisis Center Indira Henard said. "I think what we have to remember is a couple of things. One, those numbers reflect part of the story. And we also have to remember that sexual violence is one of the most under-reported crimes."
In 2018 there were 235 rapes reported to Uber. Data from Uber shows that was an increase from the previous year when 229 rape incidents were reported to the company.
Instances of attempted rape were down by 26%.
"Every form of transportation is impacted by these issues. For example, the NYPD received 1,125 complaints of sex offenses in the transit system during the same time period covered by this report," Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West said in a press release.
“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 release said.
Henard said the DCRCC also works with Uber to try and prevent sexual incidents. She said Uber is leading the charge in offering translucency by publishing its safety report.
"But more importantly, I think what this data shows us is that sexual assault is a widespread problem, it is a global problem," Henard said.
The safety report also revealed there were 97 fatal crashes reported in relation to the Uber app, 107 people died over the last two years in those crashes.
Thirty percent of those people killed were pedestrians.
“The vast majority (99.9%) of Uber trips end without any safety-related issue at all,” the Uber Safety Report said.
According to the report, the number of fatal physical assaults were the lowest, with 19 people dying in relation to the company over two years.
When it comes to preventing incidents, Uber reported that more than one million prospective drivers were turned down because they did not pass the screening process.
The report also highlighted ways the company is stepping up security for its drivers and riders, the company said it has added more safety features in the last two years than it had in the previous eight years combined.
The report details an in-app emergency button, ride check, the ability to share your ride with a designated love one, drivers speeding alerts, real-time ID check, and a tool that requires drivers to sign off after a certain time.
The company also said it’s working to expand its sexual assault and misconduct education to all U.S. drivers in 2020 and will have more features in the near future, including a verification system that has riders confirm their driver with a 4-digit pin.
In a statement, Uber said it is working to increase its security through various prevention organizations.
“As an advocate who has been working in the movement to end sexual violence for the past 20 years, I welcome this unprecedented report. Efforts like this embolden our work for a safer future. By releasing this data publicly, Uber is confronting these challenging issues head-on rather than shying away from or minimizing the numbers. In fact, they made the intentional decision to be overinclusive, capturing data by accepting every report at face value,” Karen Baker, CEO, National Sexual Violence Resource Center said in a release from Uber.