How Many Sexual Assaults Have Happened On Uber Rides?

BuzzFeed News recently investigated complaints of sexual assault and rape received by Uber, the ridesharing service many of us have come to rely on. Several screenshots obtained by BuzzFeed show 6,160 customer complaint tickets containing the words "sexual assault" and 5,827 containing the word "rape" based on complaints taken from December 2012 to August 2015. The screenshots show searches of the Uber customer support platform, accessed by a former Uber customer service representative.

These are pretty horrifying numbers, and if true, this data should have many Uber users deleting the app. But is it true? Uber says that this data is misleading and that in reality, the company received only five rape claims and fewer than 170 sexual assault claims. To explain the discrepancy with the numbers for "rape," Uber says that any driver or rider name beginning with the letters R, A, P, E would come up. In other words, if someone named Joe Raperman complained, the complaint would still come up in a search for "rape." As for sexual assault, Uber claims that many of these complaints were pertaining to incidents that didn't actually have anything to do with Uber, like when someone got into a non-Uber car by mistake.

Despite these explanations, Uber hasn't allowed BuzzFeed to look at the data themselves, or to get any further details about the five rape complaints Uber claims it has received. And still, even Uber's revised numbers to BuzzFeed are enough to make you think twice before grabbing a ride on the app.

According to an Uber spokesperson, “we are deeply committed to providing a ride people can trust, and our technology allows us to focus on safety before, during, and after every trip. Even one incident of this nature is one too many.”