On December 5th, 2019, Uber released a report which took them 21 months to compile and outlines the safety of its ride-share platform. It addresses the stories we have heard in regards to sexual assaults of people using the service. The report covers 2017-2018, and discloses the following numbers:
107 Deaths from traffic accidents
19 Fatal Physical assaults
Approx 6000 reports of Sexual Assault
- More specifically:
464 Allegations of Rape
587 reports of Attempted rape
3000 complaints of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part.
An important point from the Los Angeles Times says:
"Though the data — which were audited by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center — give the public a better idea of the realities of ride-hailing, it’s still hard to know exactly how many assaults occur on Uber’s platform. For one, the company’s “survivor-centric” approach to investigating and reviewing assault claims means the information is based on what the reporting party says happened.
“As a result, it does not necessarily reflect the actual number of occurrences of critical safety incidents, nor does it signal the ultimate disposition of any particular case,” the report reads. Studies show that sexual assaults are severely underreported, with only about 230 of 1,000 cases being brought to the police, by one measure.
“It’s important to remember when reading this report that only 1 in 3 women report their sexual assault,” Bomberger said. “Therefore, the number of women who have been sexually assaulted is certainly much higher than reported here.”
This report can be read in its entirety here: https://www.uber-assets.com/image/upload/v1575580686/Documents/Safety/UberUSSafetyReport_201718_FullReport.pdf
As investigators, this got us thinking about the screening process used when hiring drivers. Uber says that all drivers are background checked before and during employment. However, we know that background checks can be a tricky thing to accomplish in a large bulk format when accuracy is obviously the most important factor.
We found that Uber, and other rideshare services like Lyft, Postmates, and Grubhub, use a background check company named Checkr.
Checkr's homepage states " We're Checkr — the only background check company using artificial intelligence and machine learning to make hiring more inclusive and more efficient. Learn how we're setting a new standard for speed, accuracy, and safety."
Many companies have used algorithms in the past to do automated background checks. There is a problem with this, however. Public records entries are not perfect. Criminal records are full of misspelled names, incorrect or missing information like DOB and middle names, sometimes making it harder to determine the true perpetrator listed in a record. Often times we see the information that should NOT appear, or does not appear based on the fact that it was incorrectly entered at the court level. Background searches rely on the queries of a database that looks for matching data. Based on the algorithm, this may find more or less information than it intends to.
A quick google search brought us to the BBB page of Checkr, which is comprised of 55;
1-star reviews from people who say that the background check they got is inaccurate.
This tells us that many people are ending up with crimes on their report which they did not commit, and also implies that many people are passing background checks who do have convictions that may prevent them from being hired.
We have helped several firms with Uber related cases and always begin with a thorough background check on the driver. We follow that up with DMV records, locate witnesses, conduct asset searches if needed, and can perform crime scene photography. As licensed private investigators we can find all the information you need and serve any person needed for your case.
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