After the recent murders of two livery drivers in the Bronx, who were killed within a week of one another, Riverdale cab drivers are on high alert.
“I like the job, but there are so many risks,” said 23-year-old livery driver Chantell Castillo of All Town Car Service on West 231st Street. “Once a passenger is in the car, there’s nothing you can do. That’s just the kind of thing that we’re dealing with, unfortunately. It can happen anywhere.”
Recently, Maoudo Kane, a 49-year-old Bronx driver from Senegal, was found shot in the head at 3412 Hunter Ave. in the Eastchester section of the Bronx. His body was dumped on the street and his car was later abandoned near Yankee Stadium, according to police.
A week after the Aug. 5 murder, Aboubacar Bah, 62, another Bronx driver, was shot in the head in Hunts Point. His body was also found on the streets, before the perpetrators abandoned the stolen vehicle in Soundview, according to police.
After cops received a tip from another cab driver, Jakiem Ewing, 21, Tyron Felder, 25, and Kareem Martin, 26, were arrested on Aug. 15 in connection with the two murders; the fourth suspect, Tommy Smalls, 26, was arrested the following day.
New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers spokesman Fernando Mateo met with Police Commissioner William Bratton after the second shooting to discuss security measures for livery drivers. The steps include fining drivers who drive without a partition, distress lights and a camera system, which might make them an easy target for robbers. According to Mr. Mateo, neither Mr. Kane nor Mr. Bah had working cameras in their vehicles.
After analyzing data from 26 large cities, including New York, from 1996 to 2010, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that the homicide rate for cities with rules for cameras in cabs was more than three times lower than cities that lacked such rules.