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
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.