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Lyft reports more than 4,000 sexual assault cases between 2017 and 2019 in first safety study

The San-Francisco based company said more than 99% of the trips in that time period occurred without a safety incident.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this April 30, 2020, file photo, Kia Neros that are part of the Lyft ride-hailing fleet sit unused in a lot near Empower Field at Mile High in Denver. Lyft says more than 1,800 sexual assaults were reported by riders in 2019, and the number of incidents has been rising sharply in recent years. Lyft posted the numbers in a new safety report, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

SAN FRANCISCO — The ride-hailing company Lyft said in its first-ever safety report that it received more than 4,000 sexual assault reports in recent years, including at least 10 fatal assaults.

The San Francisco-based company released the numbers in a new safety report late Thursday night.

It said that more than 1,800 sexual assault cases were reported in 2019, this is up from 1,255 in 2018 and 1,096 in 2017. The company said more than 99% of the trips in that time period occurred without any safety incident.

Lyft said bookings increased during that time, resulting in a 19% drop in the overall incident rate.

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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.

“While safety incidents on our platform are incredibly rare, we realize that even one is too many,” Jennifer Brandenburger, head of policy development and research, said in a company blog post. “Behind every report is a real person and real experience, and our goal is to make each Lyft ride as safe as we possibly can.”

Lyft said it has invested in safety features on the app, employed rigorous driver background checks and consulted sexual assault experts.

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The company said it generally does not tell police about safety incidents unless it is served with a subpoena, a policy it said protects personal information about riders and drivers. Lyft said the decision to report an event to law enforcement “is a deeply personal one.”

The company said it investigates safety incidents through “correspondence with drivers and riders,” police reports and other information.

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Lyft released the figures nearly two years after larger rival Uber put out a similar report that showed more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported on rides within the U.S. in 2018. Lyft pledged in 2019 to put out its own report.

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