By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today, during a visit to Philadelphia, members of a state regulatory agency heard firsthand accounts from taxicab drivers and approved a proposal to put security cameras in all cabs operating in the city.
Ron Blount, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, envisions having a camera up front showing the driver and another camera embedded in the plexiglas shield, facing the rear seat.
“If people know that their face is going to be shown on KYW or CBS, they’re less likely to assault these drivers,” he said today.
The big push follows the shooting death last year of taxi driver Hafiz Sarfaraz, when a man pretending to be a customer tried to rob him in the Cobbs Creek section of the city.
Philadelphia Parking Authority general counsel Dennis Weldon says police data indicates that four drivers have been killed and more than 200 robberies and other crimes against drivers were committed between 2005, when the PPA began regulating taxis, and 2011.
The cameras, to be paid for by each medallion owner, are expected to be installed in every taxicab in the city by the end of the year.