Taxi sex assaults prompt safety outreach for women

Photo via cars.mitula.us
This month has seen two sexual assaults occur in livery taxis. Credit: cars.mitula.us

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center is offering advice to Boston-area women, and suggestions to cab companies, in the wake of two reports that women were sexually assaulted by men driving unlicensed taxis. 

The first attack happened on Aug. 6, after the victim entered a black Lincoln livery sedan in Boston’s Seaport District. The driver, who is still at large, took her to Newton and raped her, according to police. The second assault, which is not believed to be connected to the first, happened Sunday night after a woman entered a similar taxi in Brighton.

“Any sexual assault is troubling, but it is particularly alarming to hear that the assailants in these sexual assaults targeted those who were looking for safer options for getting to their destination,” BARCC said in a statement on its website yesterday.

“It is important to stress that the problem behavior here is that people are looking to victimize others. To do so, it appears they’re trying to both pass their vehicles off as legitimate taxi or livery options and conceal their own identities.”

BARCC called on cab and livery companies, as well as the makers of taxi hailing apps, to prioritize the safety of passengers.

The organization offered these suggestions to safe traveling:

    • Vehicles must be clearly marked: A medallion number, along with the name of the company, and a phrase such as “Boston Lic. Taxi” should be displayed on the body of the car.
    • Drivers should identify themselves and have visible identification in the car: ID should be posted clearly for passengers in the vehicle. Some companies will also provide a name and photo of the driver ahead of time. Background checks of drivers are also recommended.
    • Drivers should be respectful and courteous: Remarks about passengers’ clothing, bodies and any other comments of a personal nature make passengers feel vulnerable; especially considering drivers have access to address information.

A woman from the United Kingdom weighed in on the danger, saying in the comment section that she had been assaulted by a London cabbie in an unmarked taxi.

“This is a HUGE problem in London as well. Unmarked, non-licensed taxi drivers are trying to make a bit of money. I tried hailing a cab from a very popular gay club area, was pulled off the street and assaulted by one of these men. Unfortunately, he was also targeting gay women as well. So travelers, this isn’t just happening at home. It’s horrible to think that this can happen anywhere,” she said.

BARCC said legitimate taxi or car services should offer a system of accountability so it is easy to identify cars and drivers and locate them after the ride.

“The safest ride option is the service or driver willing to demonstrate that to you and to make sure you feel comfortable riding with them. We have a right to safe ride options at all hours, in all neighborhoods.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…