Monday, March 14, 2011

Do In-Taxi Cameras Really Deter Crime? Another Taxi Driver Robbed. By John Han

Photo by John Han.
Verifone video cameras installed on the windshields of taxis are most likely saving cab companies and  insurance companies a lot of money on accident costs.  Those cameras can record exactly what happened during an accident and indicate who was really at fault.  That also can save a taxi driver's job.

But I'm not sure I'm convinced that they're doing as equally good of a job in deterring crime, even though it is claimed that they do.

A Yellow Cab driver was robbed late during the Saturday night shift, March 12, 2011.  Yellow Cab posted a notice on the wall warning drivers to be careful out there.  According to the notice, the driver dropped off at Palou and 3rd St. at 2 am.  Then, two twenty something men jumped in the cab and were vague about their destination.  After that, one of the men pulled out a gun and demanded the money.  The driver was not injured but lost some $400 and a cell phone.  

I hope the SFMTA will deal with safety issues around cab drivers, and give its discussion equal priority as it is giving to the sale of medallions and franchise peak permits.  It is too easy to offer answers such as, "cameras deter crime".  I doubt the cab driver who was robbed Saturday would agree with that.


  1. The SFMTA could care less about driver safety. And truth be told, neither does anyone else.

    I was robbed twice at gas stations under surveilence and when the police showed up 45 minutes later, all they had to say was "Sorry about your bad luck - be grateful you are alive". The DA's office kindly told me if the culprits were to be caught they were NOT going to press charges and they told me the same thing after both robberies.

    If anyone recalls the driver who was nearly stabbed to death last year, the guy who attacked him was on probation for doing the same thing.

    The cameras were intended to "deter crime" by allowing a means to photograph the suspects as ususally they rob us in isloated areas and there are no other witnesses. However, even with the cameras as long as the DA's office continues to refuse to poress charges and I do not count probahtion as a sentence. Mandatory minimums are in order.

  2. Yeah, it's too bad that we live in a predatory society --- one where the weakest, and most vulnerable --- are the ones most likely to be targeted.

    Thus, in such a society, is it EVER likely to be the case that government agents could see that the robbery of one person is equal to the robbery of another? There's no incentive to care about Taxi Drivers.

    Are not Taxi Drivers viewed by many to be necessary evils themselves? I'm afraid that we Taxi Drivers, woeful though our state may be, are, alas, the only ones (only by organizing), who are best positioned to save us from the worse OUT THERE.


  3. Reality is I would NEVER p/u a flag on Palou (the story I was told was the driver picked up a flag). What ever you want to say about equal levels of service.. baloney, when they quit robbing us in that neighborhood I'll start picking up in that neighborhood! I'll p/u a dispatched call to an address and/or drop off in that area but once my fare is out the doors lock and i'm gone. Prior to arriving at the drop off point I ask my far to exit without delay so I can in fact lock em up and they are always fine w/that... :) When the po po and the DA start arresting and prosecuting I'll rethink my actions.


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