Lyft report: More than 4,000 cases of sexual assaults, including rapes, reported over 3 years

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FILE -In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, photo, a sign marks the pick lane for Lyft car share service outside the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver. Ford Motor Co. and a self-driving vehicle company it partly owns will join with the Lyft ride-hailing service to offer autonomous rides on the Lyft network. The service using Ford vehicles and a driving system developed by Argo AI will begin in Miami later this year and start in Austin, Texas, in 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(NewsNation Now) — Ride-hailing company Lyft released a safety report Thursday, disclosing it received more than 4,000 reports of sexual assault on its platform over three years.

The company’s release shows that in total, there were 4,158 reports of sexual assault on the app from Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2019. It also showed that among the sexual assault reports received, 360 were reports of rapes.

Riders reported 1,800 sexual assaults in 2019, and the number of incidents has been rising sharply in recent years.

Lyft collected 598 such reports for 2017, 661 for 2018 and 1,041 for 2019, it said.

The company says more than 99% of rides occur without any safety issues being reported. The report lists 10 deaths from physical assaults that occurred on its platform from 2017 through 2019.

Sexual assaults ranging from touching to penetration rose each year covered by the report. In 2019, more than half involved non-consensual touching of a sexual body part.

Lyft collected 598 such reports for 2017, 661 for 2018 and 1,041 for 2019, it said.

Lyft said it does not automatically report such incidents to law enforcement, deferring to the wishes of the person who makes the report. The company provides support services, it said, including information on how to reach organizations providing counseling and crisis intervention, in addition to emotional support and ways to contact law enforcement.

The company said it would work to protect its passengers.

“In putting the safety of its community members as its top priority, Lyft takes all reported incidents seriously and thoroughly investigates each one,” wrote Jennifer Brandenburger, Lyft’s head of policy development and research, in the report. “Lyft’s Safety Specialists are trained to approach each case with respect and care. Doing so helps protect drivers and riders and makes the Lyft community safer for all.”

Some of the features Lyft has rolled out in recent years include a way to contact 911 through the app, as well as a feature that claims to check-in with riders or drivers if it senses something irregular may have occurred, such as veering far off route.

Lyft’s report comes two years after its rival Uber released a similar set of data for its app. It included data for nonconsensual kissing or touching of sexual body parts, nonconsensual kissing of nonsexual body parts, and attempted and nonconsensual sexual penetration.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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