Toronto Star
(Toronto, ON, Canada)
5 Nov 2002

Cab hold-ups on Web

By Frank Calleja
STAFF REPORTER

Tips about taxi robberies are already coming in after photos of suspects caught by cab cameras were displayed for the first time on the Toronto Crime Stoppers Web site yesterday.

Cab robberies, which are often violent and sometimes result in homicide, are "among the most cowardly of crimes," Toronto police Detective Sergeant Clive Richards said yesterday.

The idea behind "Rob a Cab You will be Nabbed," launched yesterday by police and the Toronto taxi industry, is to quickly post images of suspects in taxi robberies on the Crime Stoppers Web site.

"The more people have access to these photos, the more pairs of eyes we've got to help investigators identify suspects and that will be a valuable investigative tool," Detective Jeff Zammit said. "The camera even caught one robber actually slashing the throat of a cab driver."

Cab crime has been reduced by more than 50 per cent since the implementation of a Toronto bylaw about a year ago requiring taxi owners to install security cameras or global positioning systems (GPS) in their cars.

A few years ago, about 200 cab robberies occurred in Toronto, a number that has been reduced significantly since the introduction of the cameras. So far this year, there have been 17, Richards said.

Richards said the idea of installing cameras and global positioning systems in cabs originated in Australia but spread to many parts of the world, including Toronto and Brampton.

Toronto's bylaw gives cab owners a choice of installing cameras (at a cost of about $850 - $1,150) or a GPS.

Photographs of suspects in cab robberies can be viewed on the Crime Stoppers Web site: www.toronto-CrimeStoppers.com