Sunday, March 31, 2013

Taxi Drivers: Easy Targets

Taxi Drivers: Easy Targets
by Sasha Brown

Taxi cab driver Annuel Delicieux shot during robbery speaks to 10 News

For cab drivers, there is always this one unforgettable ride at least in a day’s work; but for Annuel Delicieux, it was the unforgettable ride of his lifetime. At around 3 am on Dec 18, 2012 in Tampa Florida, two assailants aimed a gun at a cab driver, took his money and shot him. The two shooters, although now sitting in jail have changed his life significantly because the father of three who was just trying to make a living, who fortunately survived the shooting, now has to undergo therapy and could not work for at least a year because of the incident.

According to other cab drivers, Tampa is considered a safe place for taxi drivers. In fact, the city’s crime rate has gone down 46% for the past 6 years. Nevertheless, it does not make it any safer for cabbies working late nights to the wee hours of the morning from robberies or senseless shootings. They may have safety procedures to follow in such circumstances but readings from articles show that most of the taxi related crimes are not solely based on the intent to rob. More than half of taxi driver killings are showing an act of senseless murders due to the assailant acting out for his/her self-esteem. In the case of Mr. Delicieux for example, he already gave the robbers the money they demanded but they still shot him brutally. For wanting to create chaos from the situation, the suspects in this case still killed him even when he followed orders quickly and without a fight.

These taxi drivers working round the clock face risk factors everyday such as being defenseless working alone, late at night with cash in public and high-risk areas.



It is an outstanding effort that most operators try their best to put in place preventive strategies for their drivers such as GPS installations in the taxis, surveillance, radio communication, safety trainings and silent alarms. The question now is; would this completely eliminate such crimes by making the public aware that cabbies are in secured positions to fight off assailants and defend themselves or would people continue to believe that these hard workers are all defenseless easy targets vulnerable to attacks at anytime?

Annuel Deliciuex’s customer was still at the back seat when the shooting happened. While the two gunmen were after the taxi driver, the customer tried to escape during the robbery, which is understandable in fear, but only goes to show that he has no regard for the safety of his driver who was delivering service to him at an ungodly hour.

Cabbies are not merely drivers driving us around for money. They risk their lives to service us. They bring us home when we are not sober enough to drive ourselves. They go through roadblocks, heavy traffic, heat and exhaustion just to make their service available to us 24 hours a day. The public needs to be aware of this. The public needs to be fully aware that it’s not only the taxi driver’s responsibility to bring us home safely; we also have a responsibility to them to respect their work space and help them in case of danger.

It is with luck that the victim has survived this senseless shooting and robbery. Under other circumstances, it would have been a tragedy; but nevertheless; should still serve as a valuable lesson and an arrow of awareness that those who drive around yellow cabs are people that need protection too. Taxi drivers may be easy targets but like anyone who is regarded as important as any other, we can take them away from the dangers of the night if we show we care.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, I got robbed once by 3 15-17 year old kids.
    It had happened to me in broad day light.
    This is very traumatic experience for anybody to see barrel of the gun pointed at your head.
    Your mind is racing and you kind of wonder if these are last seconds of your life....
    ..then you get this adrenaline jolt, which makes you think really fast and react in very precise way just to try to defuse situation.
    I was lucky, robbers got away with $80 and I was shaken but physically OK,
    2 weeks later exactly in same place, the other cab driver wasn't that lucky and he got shot in the stomach by same kids, who were later caught and convicted.

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