Reports of sexual assaults on the London Underground have increased 42 percent since 2015, according to a new data analysis.
The Guardian reports that numbers released by the UK’s PA news agency show that there were a total of 1,206 reported attacks on the tube from 2018 to 2019, as compared with a mere 844 reported attacks from 2015 to 2016. The uptick in reported attacks is, in some ways, a good thing—the British Transport Police, who patrol the Underground, had recently teamed up with transit authority Transport for London (TfL) to spearhead a campaign to encourage more victims to report assaults on public transit, hence the increase.
Still, as beneficial as reporting sexual assault is for transit safety, it would certainly be much more beneficial for these incidents to cease altogether. Data from the reported assaults suggest sexual assaults occur most frequently during rush hour commutes, as well as on the night Tube, which is newer overnight service on Fridays and Saturdays.
“It’s not enough to just encourage the reporting of sexual harassment and assaults. Alongside this we need to be proactively identifying offenders and stopping them,” Andrea Simon, a spokesperson for the UK’s End Violence Against Women Coalition, told the Guardian. “CCTV shows that [assaulters] will move around the transport network looking for women to target, most often during the commuter rush hours when the tube network is busiest.”
Sexual harassment and groping is all too common on public transportation, both in the United States and worldwide. It’s so common in Tokyo, in fact, that an app alerting other riders to a groper was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times in just three years.