Photo: The Blessing of the Taxi Fleet at San Francisco's St. Boniface Church is a reminder of the risks faced by taxi drivers.

Homicide Prevention

How many drivers are killed each year?

Chart showing the number of US cab driver homicides in each year from 1994 to 2013
View a larger version of the chart

This chart shows annual totals for 678 occupational homicides of US taxicab and livery drivers between 1994 and 2013. The average throughout the period was about 34 per year. The data are drawn from the taxicab driver Memoriam List which is maintained on this site. The Memoriam List is based primarily on press reports of cab driver homicides. This chart of the last twenty years does not show the much higher levels that occurred in the early 1990s, e.g. 76 homicides in 1991. Those high numbers were largely due to livery driver homicides in New York City prior to implementation of strong crime prevention measures in 1994.

Putting a face on taxi homicide statistics

Photo of Ahmed Hussein Ahmed

Taxicab driver Ahmed Hussein Ahmed, pictured at left, was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota during 2003. View the photo section on the Memoriam page.

The Memoriam List records the names of more than 2000 taxi and livery drivers who were murdered on the job, and provides partial information on the murders of an additional 1000+. The list is updated frequently, and can be sorted by name, date or place. If you have recently lost a loved one, please see the resource sheet for family members.

Photo of a murder suspect

Why do they kill cab drivers?

This 62 year old man was arrested for the murder of a taxi driver in Portland, Oregon. Read "Why do they kill cab drivers?", an essay with photos on making sense out of "senseless murder."

Equipment Strategies: Cameras

American Journal of Preventive Medicine
June 11, 2013
Effectiveness of Taxicab Security Equipment in Reducing Driver Homicide Rates

Cammie K. Chaumont Menéndez, PhD, Harlan E. Amandus, PhD, Parisa Damadi, BS, Nan Wu, MS, Srinivas Konda, MPH, Scott A. Hendricks, MS

(Am J Prev Med 2013;45(1):1-8)

From page 5 of the article:

"These data support the hypothesis that installing cameras in taxicabs results in a reduction in citywide taxicab driver homicide rates post-installation (seven times lower homicide rate) and compared to cities with neither cameras nor partitions (three times lower homicide rate). The data do not support the hypothesis that cities with partitions installed in taxicabs experience lower taxicab driver homicide rates than cities with neither cameras nor partitions. This is the first study to methodically collect data from a nationally representative sample of the largest taxicab cities over a 15-year time span that allows for comparison of rates pre- and post-installation of cameras."

Crime Science
May 9, 2014
Cities with camera-equipped taxicabs experience reduced taxicab driver homicide rates: United States, 1996 - 2010

Cammie K. Chaumont Menéndez, PhD, Harlan E. Amandus, PhD, Parisa Damadi, BS, Nan Wu, MS, Srinivas Konda, MPH, Scott A. Hendricks, MS

(Crime Science 2014, 3:4)

Front and back view of a mounted camera head Front and back views of a Janus digital camera head, one of several models on the market.
Photo: armed robbery in progress

Journal of Transportation Technologies
July 2014
Minimum Requirements for Taxicab Security Cameras

Shengke Zeng, Harlan E. Amandus, Alfred A. Amendola, Bradley H. Newbraugh, Douglas M. Cantis, Darlene Weaver

(Journal of Transportation Technologies, 4, 216-255)

Test photos of a male face at different angles

Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health took more than 10,000 photographs of human-face charts in a simulated-taxicab with various photographic resolutions, dynamic ranges, lens-distortions, and motion-blurs in various light and cab-seat conditions. The authors recommend that taxicab security cameras have minimum resolution of XGA-format, highlight-dynamic-range of 1 EV, twilight-dynamic-range of 3.3 EV, lens-distortion of 30%, and shutter-speed of 1/30 second.

Taxicab security cameras protect the public as well as drivers

Two head-and-shoulders photos showing the face of a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt

Modern taxicab security cameras record both forward-facing and rear-facing digital video images. The photos above were released to the press by the San Francisco Police Department in August 2014. The man is wanted for the murder of a pedestrian. The images were captured by the forward-facing lens of a taxicab security camera looking through the windshield of the cab. In the same month SFPD investigators requested video from dozens of taxicabs whose cameras may have captured the license plate number of a hit-and-run vehicle that killed a child on a busy downtown street. Taxicabs are increasingly recognized as valuable aids to solving crimes.

Taxicab security cameras may also provide evidence proving or disproving allegations of assault within a taxicab. Allegations can be especially devastating to a driver who is falsely accused of sexual impropriety toward a passenger; in such cases a taxicam is the driver's best defense. Cameras are conspicuous and discourage improper behavior or crimes by passengers and drivers alike.

Cab companies can quickly recover the cost of cameras because they record collisions. Most accidents involving taxicabs are the other driver's fault and video images can quickly disprove fraudulent claims. Insurers may offer discounted liability insurance for camera-equipped taxicabs.

Equipment Strategies: Partitions

Photo of a partition in a taxicab

Light-colored vinyl upholstery covers the steel lower half of a partition.

View of a partition

This view from the front seat shows a partition's sliding window unlocked and open.
The change tray is visible at the left. A screw-on aluminum clamp attached to the upper
rail limits the distance that the window opens, in this case to about 4 inches.

Photo of a partition in a minivan

A partition installed in a Dodge Caravan minivan. See additional photos of this vehicle.

Training materials

Cover shows a colorful cartoon drawing of a taxicab

Additional Taxi Safety Resources and Research

Pattern in taxi homicides

Chart: three-quarters are head and neck injuries

The typical fatal scenario is a night time shooting from inside the cab. Most of the deaths are due to head or neck injuries, and most of the assailants are in their teens. The following are the main findings from the report "606 Taxicab Driver Homicides, United States and Canada, 1980-1994" by Charles Rathbone.