Friday, October 28, 2011

Do Window Mounted Cameras Deter Crime? Another Taxi Driver Has Been Robbed... Violently.

File photo by John Han
The SF Appeal is reporting that a taxi driver was struck in the head with an unknown object and then robbed Thursday night. 

The violence occurred at the intersection of 25th St. and De Haro.  The suspect is reported to have fled and has not been found as of this morning. 

CLICK HERE to read the article.    

The violence comes after a string of eight robberies were committed against cab drivers between July and September of this year.  Those robberies were believed to have been committed by an individual serial robber.

That suspect was eventually caught, largely due to still photos taken by a window mounted camera.  However, the images did not prevent the robberies from being committed in the first place.

Window mounted video cameras have their value in the taxi business.  They record accidents and can help insurance companies, cab companies, and cab drivers that have been involved in an accident, to prove whether the incident was at fault or not.  

But no data has been released publicly as to how well the cameras perform in deterring crimes from happening.

13 comments:

  1. John, If I may add a comment here. My first robbery in a cab a few years back was pretty devastating I sympathize with others who have been robbed in their taxi's as well. In my seven years of driving I had been robbed three times and shot at at 22nd and Missouri. (The shooter was able to get off 7 rounds, at least that was the number of empty 45 shells that was found at the scene) The police were able to catch the guy who robbed me in the cab, however our San Francisco courts let the guy go. The police detectives used photos to catch the robber. I do not think that the cameras deter robberies, but I must say the police use the photos to help catch the guys who are performing the incidents.

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  2. Those stickers that are on each back door should also be stuck on the inside of the front windscreen somewhere around the rear view mirror or maybe even behind the headrests, its my guess that if someone intends to rob you they don't even know they are on camera and in some cases they don't care. I disagree with Dean I think they have bin a great deterent and will continue to be as word gets out that they are there.

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  3. "But no data has been released publicly as to how well the cameras perform in deterring crimes from happening."
    It should be obvious that short of interviewing everybody in SF under the age of say 60 that would be willing to admit they ever thought of robbing a cab driver, there is no possible way to generate data on the deterrent effect of cameras. Even if the rate of cab robberies has declined that does not prove anything. Crime is down in the US generally.
    John you seem to suggest that the cameras are good for the greedy companies but do nothing for drivers which I find slightly offensive.

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  4. Richard,

    That's not the insinuation. If that's the way it comes across, then I'll apologize for the misunderstanding and clarify that I support window mounted videos. I included cab drivers in the list with insurance companies and cab companies as people who benefit.

    I'm glad you brought up this point because it gives me the opportunity to add that last summer I was struck by another driver who ran through a red light. The video showed indisputably it was not my fault and I was not blamed. So I hope this clarifies my view on cameras.

    But cab companies didn't invest all that money in cameras just to protect drivers like me. Their original motive is to protect their own liability. That's not necessarily a "greedy" or bad thing.

    It's just that I don't think companies should B.S. their drivers and say that the video cameras are there to protect them against crime and violence.

    Because that would only be a small fraction of the truth.

    Where I work, there's a sign that says these cameras are proven to deter crime and are installed for the drivers' safety.

    I don't think that's really true. When I look at the 3rd Eye Cam website it advertises the cameras this way...

    "Since 2008, our cameras have been a useful tool in lowering claims, improving driver behavior, and reducing accidents."

    There's nothing on the websites main page about deterring crime or keeping drivers safe from violence, even though that's how it gets sold to us.

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  5. John:
    "But cab companies didn't invest all that money in cameras just to protect drivers like me. Their original motive is to protect their own liability. That's not necessarily a "greedy" or bad thing."

    hybels:
    We already had cameras for years to deter robbers etc.

    John:
    " It's just that I don't think companies should B.S. their drivers and say that the video cameras are there to protect them against crime and violence."

    Hybels:
    Nobody is BS'ing anybody. The cameras are there to do that and were for many years exclusively for that purpose.

    "Because that would only be a small fraction of the truth.
    Where I work, there's a sign that says these cameras are proven to deter crime and are installed for the drivers' safety."

    Well I'm guessing they are appealing to some idiot driver not to sabotage the cameras and the drivers are not so interested in liability issues as they are their safety I presume. That does not mean your company is saying safety is the only reason.
    Yellow has probably two full time people settling accidents. How many robberies are there a year?

    "I don't think that's really true. When I look at the 3rd Eye Cam website it advertises the cameras this way...

    "Since 2008, our cameras have been a useful tool in lowering claims, improving driver behavior, and reducing accidents."

    "There's nothing on the websites main page about deterring crime or keeping drivers safe from violence, even though that's how it gets sold to us."

    They are speaking to what you are interested in not what interests them. These cameras are the best thing that ever happened in my opinion.
    There are a lot of drivers that would be fired after having too many accidents that liability could not be proven. And there are going to be guys hitting the street cuz they won't drive sensibly. THAT KEEPS GATES DOWN.
    You are barking up the wrong tree again with your "Gotcha" program.

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  6. Hi Richard,

    YOUR COMMENT: "We already had cameras for years to deter robbers etc. "

    MY REPLY: And like I said, we haven't seen evidence to indicate whether the cameras have actually been successful in doing that. Crime deterrence may be why the original still photo cameras were installed back in the 90’s, but it’s not really known how well they’ve worked. BTW - companies didn't upgrade from still cameras to newer video ones in order to more effectively deter crime. They did it to better protect against wrongful insurance claims.

    The misunderstanding is, you think I'm saying cab companies are ‘evil’ just for upgrading to video in order to better protect themselves against claims. I'm not. It’s perfectly understandable. Doing so protects drivers too.

    You also seem to think I’m advocating the removal of video cameras. I’m not doing that either. The cameras should stay. They help to reduce insurance claims, and that is good. But they don’t necessarily seem to deter crime effectively.

    The point of the essay is to recognize that another cab driver got robbed violently, and that the newer video cameras said to deter crime (not by the manufacturer but by the cab company) don't necessarily do that.

    Therefore, I’m advocating that new, additional methods of driver safety against crime be contemplated, while video cameras stay mounted on the windshields for their other useful functions. I hope that clarifies things better. I realize I wrote a fairly short essay and these points may not have been written at first.

    YOUR COMMENT: "Nobody is BS'ing anybody. The cameras are there to do that and were for many years exclusively for that purpose."

    MY REPLY: This is not accurate, at least not anymore. 3rd Eye Cam doesn’t even advertise crime prevention as even a partial function of its product. So how can you say that the new video cams are there to prevent robberies?

    And again, with all due respect, given the sting of robberies this year, new methods beyond video cams should be contemplated with respects to preventing crime. That’s not the same as to say the cameras should be removed. I’m not saying that.

    YOUR COMMENT: "Well I'm guessing they are appealing to some idiot driver not to sabotage the cameras and... "

    MY REPLY: Maybe you’re right. I won’t argue against it. Drivers shouldn’t tamper with the cameras.

    YOUR COMMENT: "… They are speaking to what you are interested in not what interests them. "

    MY REPLY: Then they don’t seem to know what I’m interested in, because I don't buy into the notion that the new video cameras deter crime.

    I'd prefer it if the cab company would communicate to the drivers more effectively the REAL reasons they benefit from newer, video recording cameras… the proof of no-fault collision.

    Violence and crime prevention may be a different issue. It isn’t necessary to try to sell us on the notion that cameras keep us safe from robbers, because no one knows if that’s really true. I don’t think it’s true. Just look at the robberies reported this year.

    YOUR COMMENT: “These cameras are the best thing that ever happened in my opinion. There are a lot of drivers that would be fired after having too many accidents that liability could not be proven.”

    MY REPLY: I’m still wondering where you find us in a disagreement. Like I said, the drivers benefit immensely too. The cameras should stay. Where are you finding us in disagreement?

    YOUR COMMENT: “You are barking up the wrong tree again with your "Gotcha" program.”

    MY REPLY: “Gotcha” program? You need to explain this better. I’m all ears but you need to explain it.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. John sez: And like I said, we haven't seen evidence to indicate whether the cameras have actually been successful in doing that. Crime deterrence may be why the original still photo cameras were installed back in the 90’s, but it’s not really known how well they’ve worked.

    Hybels sez :Of course it is not known. IT CAN'T BE KNOWN!!!!! YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND THAT? Does the armed guard in front of my bank deter robberies? It can't be known

    BTW - companies didn't upgrade from still cameras to newer video ones in order to more effectively deter crime. They did it to better protect against wrongful insurance claims.

    WELL THAT IS AXIOMATIC. A PICTURE IS A PICTURE.
    YOU WANT SOMETHING PROVEN THAT CAN'T BE PROVEN
    ANYMORE THAN IT CAN BE "PROVEN" THAT A VACCINE WORKS.
    LOOK THIS UP "POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC"

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  9. Do I detect an air of hostility riding the crest of the wave between John and Dick which I believe is short for Richard.

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  10. Johnny walker sez,

    Cab companies are nothing more than parasitic organisms designed to leech off

    Of drivers while deliberately providing poor service to passengers in order to

    Increase their fleet size!

    Pretty cool huh!

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  11. Johnny sez
    Anonymous said...

    Johnny walker sez,
    Cab companies are nothing more than parasitic organisms designed to leech off
    Of drivers while deliberately providing poor service to passengers in order to increase their fleet size!
    Pretty cool huh!

    Way cool you dud

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  12. I don't think I'm being hostile.

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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