Cab aggregator Uber on Thursday said it had received around 6,000 reports of sexual assault on its trips in the United States in 2017 and 2018. The number of cases increased from 2,936 in 2017 to 3,045 last year, but the average incident rate declined about 16% since 2018 had more rides, according to the company’s safety report. The total number of Uber rides in the United States during the period was 2.3 billion.
As many as 45% of the reports were against passengers, and drivers were the accused in 54% cases, the company said.
The data on sexual assault was classified into five categories, each of which recorded a decline in rate of incidence in 2018. However, Uber said the trend need not remain this way, as releasing such data may lead to an increase in reporting of such incidents in the future. “That’s because when it becomes clear that Uber is paying close attention to reports of sexual violence and taking action, survivors may feel more comfortable coming forward,” it said.
The company’s top management claimed publishing the numbers voluntarily was difficult. “Most companies don’t talk about issues like sexual violence because doing so risks inviting negative headlines and public criticism,” the company’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West said in the statement. “But we feel it’s time for a new approach.”
West claimed the numbers were jarring and difficult to stomach, and that the data reflected the society the company served, The New York Times reported. However, the company did not present an overall picture of its operations in the 65 countries apart from the United States.
The report also included the number of fatal car crashes during the trips – 49 in 2017, and 58 in 2018. The figures included accidents that took place outside the company’s vehicles, and crashes in which the driver was not at fault.
Ten murders occurred in 2017 and nine in 2018, the company said. Seven of the victims were drivers, and eight were passengers, while four were third parties such as bystanders.
The ride-sharing firm has been facing increased scrutiny across the world, and lost its licence to operate in London last month.