“App criminals” is a topic that has boomeranged in recent months. Although we have repeatedly reported on the terrifying news of Uber and Bolt drivers, and the companies themselves have assured that they are taking all precautions and have zero tolerance for such behavior, nothing is changing.
History is closing. More women have become victims of rape using the Uber and Bolt apps
According to the newspaper Rzeczpospolita, the Warsaw prosecutor’s office conducted 20 investigations into crimes related to rape and sexual assault by mid-May, and today the number has increased to 28. This means that such a crime occurs on average once a week – and these are truly terrifying statistics.
Rzeczpospolita also cited the example of a 29-year-old Georgian who was stopped by the Border Guard in Gdańsk literally moments before the plane took off on Tuesday. The driver decided to flee the country to Kutaisi after harassing a woman who wanted to return home from a meeting on Sunday morning. The Georgian man turned onto a gravel road by the river, got into the back seat and forcibly held the victim, began to touch her in private parts and forced the woman to touch him. The victim eventually managed to escape and was helped by a fisherman who was near the scene of this tragic event.
In this case, they decided to intervene in the services that immediately ensured the tracking of the driver’s route and data, which made it possible to find out where the Georgian is currently located. A twenty-nine-year-old man with his wife and two children was arrested for three months. The driver is accused of depriving the injured person of his personal freedom in the way he was transported in the car, moreover, despite repeated calls to stop, he continued to drive and made it impossible to leave. Then, after the car was stopped, the accused, using violence, holding the car and pushing it, led the victim to the so-called other sexual activity. Then he tried to rape her.
The newspaper Rzeczpospolita said that of the eight new investigations, up to seven are being conducted by the Vistula’s left bank prosecutors’ offices, of which the four identified perpetrators are two Georgians, one Armenian and one Uzbek, but did not identify the origin of the rest. Founded. Previously, out of 20 cases, the perpetrators were six Georgians, two Uzbeks, two Tajiks, one Algerian and one Turkmen, but the nationality of the remaining eight men was not ascertained. Such incidents most often occur in the middle of the night or in the morning when drivers drive to remote locations.
There were many more such scary stories
Although the described situation is chilling, it is not new by any means. In February of this year, Jakub Szczęsny reported on Antyweb about many situations where women became victims of sexual assault through Uber and Bolt services – one of them was a 22-year-old woman. The driver of the vehicle turned into a busy park in the morning, pulled the woman out of the car, beat and raped her and left her alone. The services were notified by the security of the facility where the foreigner lives – the victim arrived there in the morning covered in blood, badly beaten and in great shock.
Why did I write that “in this case the services decided to intervene” when describing the situation with the 29-year-old Georgian? Another situation from this year involved a woman who, after a whole week of work and meeting friends, fell asleep in a taxi on the way home. She had a dream that someone was touching her – but it turned out not to be a dream at all, and she was harassed by the driver of a vehicle in an abandoned car park. When the victim decided to report the situation to the police, she heard the officer say she had “had one drink too many” – and when the breathalyzer failed to show a result of 0.0, the situation was deemed to have been made up. Pure absurdity and real hell for the victims, and these are just three situations out of 28 in Poland this year – and Bolt or Uber drivers were responsible for at least half of these incidents.
What are Uber and Bolt doing about it?
Uber and Bolt’s press teams responded to Antyweb in February this year, saying they have a zero-tolerance policy for violence, including sexual abuse. Uber announced that “as the only platform in Poland” it has introduced the Real Time ID Check system, which allows the driver’s identity to be verified in real time. To use the app, the driver may be asked to take a selfie photo that will be compared to the photo added to the system at the time of registration. In addition, a security button has also been introduced, by pressing which passengers, drivers and suppliers can call 112 directly from the application and provide accurate information about the location of the incident.
Uber also mentioned the Security Center – during the journey, the user can access the security center by clicking on the dial, where there is information about all security functions. In addition, there is an option like trusted contacts that allows you to select up to five friends or family members and share information about your trip with one click. Uber also has a Ride check option that, in the event of an unexpected stop or route change, sends a push notification asking if a stop or route change is planned. Additionally, Uber’s press team hinted at the company’s participation in the global Driving Change initiative.
Bolt responded to the allegations as follows:
Our team has been trained by experts from the Feminoteka Foundation to provide the best possible support to reporters in the event of such an incident. Within the framework of the rules adopted by us, we respond to all requests sent in the application, we block the driver on the Bolt platform so that he can no longer make trips, and we investigate each situation. In any case, we are working with the police and making sure those responsible face the consequences.
The safety of all users of our platform is the most important thing for us, which is why we have introduced the option of location sharing in the application, which allows you to track the way to people selected by passengers. In addition, Bolt requires its fleet partners who employ drivers to submit a series of documents confirming that the person can transport people. These documents include a certificate of good character, driver’s identity documents, a copy of the driver’s license and the number of the registration certificate.
We received these responses in February this year. Since then, such incidents have only increased – so despite the efforts of the platforms, it does not help much. The facts simply show that these activities are insufficient and that the screening of drivers should be improved as soon as possible.
Let’s take care of women’s safety because the current situation is simply unacceptable
It is also extremely annoying that despite such tragic events and traumatic experiences of women, we read a lot of mocking comments on the Internet that FREE NOW offers, and recently Bolt, in which women drive vehicles that guarantee greater safety for passengers, are common freaks and make “of nothing something”. With all these situations, it’s no wonder that many women simply prefer to walk home rather than use this type of app. It just shouldn’t be like that.
It is absurd that, despite numerous situations of this type, assurances from companies and taking certain steps, the subsequent women experience a real hell – which, as it turns out, can be ignored by the services.
Sources: 1, 2
Featured Image: Dan Gold / Unsplash