3 Women Report Assaults While Trying To Use Ride-Sharing Services In Boston
BOSTON (CBS) - Three women told Boston Police they were indecently assaulted over the weekend after getting into cars that they believed were part of a ride-share service they had contacted.
Police say they are actively looking for the vehicles and drivers involved in the three incidents, all which happened within a two-hour span early Sunday morning. Investigators did not identify the ride sharing services that the women called before the assaults.
They say the first one was reported just before 1 a.m. Sunday, when a woman arranged to be picked up in the area of Dorchester Avenue and Columbia Road. She told police once she got into the car the driver offered her money and touched her inappropriately.
She said that's when she got a text from the real ride-share service saying the driver had arrived to pick her up. The woman ordered the car to stop and got out.
She called police, but they did not find the car.
A second similar incident happened around 2:30 a.m. as a woman called for a service to take her from Commonwealth Avenue to her home. Once inside the car, the woman claimed the driver tried to touch her inappropriately. She refused his unwanted advances and ordered the driver to stop and let her out.
Twenty minutes later, officers spoke to a third woman who had a similar story. She had arranged for a ride share from Faneuil Hall to Dorchester. During the ride, the woman said she fell asleep and woke up to find the driver indecently assaulting her.
Police are asking people to be especially careful, to use easily identifiable cab and ride-share services and ask to see the operator's license before getting into the car.
Taylor Bennett, a spokesperson for the ride-sharing service Uber, sent a statement saying "no one should hail or get into any vehicle on the street that is not a clearly identifiable pre-arranged transportation provider or licensed taxi. There are strong reasons why doing so is unsafe, and therefore illegal, in the city of Boston."
Anyone with information should call the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit at (617) 343-4400.
Boston Police also issued the following tips to help keep you safe:
• Have a plan on how you will get home before you go out.
• Travel with friends if possible.
• Whenever possible, schedule a designated driver.
• Have credible and regulated cab company phone numbers saved to your phone ahead of time.
• Use only licensed cabs or clearly identifiable livery or ride-share service vehicles that you call to your location.
• Before entering any vehicle, ask to see the operator's license and any information confirming the driver's employee status with the service hired.
• Make note of taxi medallion numbers or license plates.
• Once you are in a hired vehicle, call a friend or someone you know and let them know your ride has arrived and you're en-route.
• Do not get into an unmarked taxi or livery car.
WBZ-TV's Christina Hager contributed to this report.
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