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Reasons for Violence Toward Taxi Drivers
Taxi drivers suffer their share of violence. In
part this is due to the unpredictable nature of the work – it is
never possible to predict the character and intentions of everybody
a taxi driver picks up. Thus there are bound to be some bad apples.
In helping to prevent violence toward taxi drivers, it helps to get
a clear sense of why this job experiences violence. The following
are some reasons why Taxi drivers are subject to violence such as
assault, hold ups, and even murder:
1. They Carry Cash
Most people know that taxi drivers are generally paid in cash and
thus carry quite a bit of it on their person. This makes them a
potential target for thieves, who want to know in advance that the
individual they are robbing is worth the time, risk, and effort.
They can be assured that taxi drivers have cash and so they often
resort to violence in order to get it. This violence may or may not
be gun related. Some thieves may simply assault a taxi driver in an
attempt to rob them.
2. Driver’s Back is Turned
The spatial layout of a taxi situation itself facilitates violence
in certain ways. The driver’s back is turned on the passenger for
the better part of a taxi ride. This gives the passenger the element
of surprise if they wish to assault the taxi driver. Again, this is
probably mostly theft related violence, though there is also the
possibility of violence simply breaking out due to an argument or
because the passenger has psychological issues.
3. Taxi Rides are Expensive
Taxis are a fairly expensive way to travel. In some senses this
works in favor of taxi violence – people may perceive the taxi
driver as being unfair or cheap. Another possible situation is that
a passenger may simply find (or know in advance) that they do not
have the money to pay for a taxi ride, and thus try to run off
attack the driver to avoid paying. This could be considered a
different form of theft. But often this may be less premeditated
than actual taxi robbery situations.
4. Inner City Work Environments
Though this is by no means always the case, many taxi drivers work
in inner city environments. They may pick up passengers in high
crime areas and thus expose themselves to crime and violence. Even
those taxi drivers that work in a variety of areas ranging to from
suburban to downtown often have to visit bad neighborhoods if they
get a call. Since they are monetarily motivated to pick up as many
passengers as possible, chances are that they will be inclined to
pick up people that need a ride, regardless of the neighborhood.
5. Long Hours
Taxi drivers tend to work long hours. They often work late into the
night in an attempt to maximize their profits. This means that they
may be fairly tired toward the end of their shifts. Being tired
rather than alert can make them more susceptible to violence. They
may not be paying enough attention to a passenger who has bad
intentions. Of course, one would think that through experience a
taxi driver would get better at this kind of preventative attention,
but nobody is perfect. They are bound to lose alertness at some
point in their shift, and one of these times it could be the wrong
individual who is getting a ride.