7 cabbies robbed in one week in B’klyn, now want special police hot line
Seven cabbies have been robbed at gunpoint in as many days in Brooklyn, industry advocates said Sunday — as they urged the NYPD to set up a special police hot line for drivers.
One of the held-up hacks sat in a police station house for six hours waiting to report he was robbed, said state Federation of Taxi Drivers chief Fernando Mateo.
“If the police deputize [drivers], it means [the cabbies] have a number they can call the police and have the power to report directly to the police,” Mateo said at a Bronx press conference.
“We want to be able to share photographs,” Mateo said. “The [Taxi and Limousine Commission has] … the technology to blast out a photograph of the person who did it. If you have a photograph of the person who did it, the cops should immediately send it to the TLC so they can share it with the drivers in the zone or area.
“We know that the police have their hands full,” Mateo added — as city crime continues to soar.
“We could be deputized to be the eyes and ears of the communities that they serve. You want to save lives? Think. Think out of the box.”
He said drivers fell victim to the slew of robberies between July 28 and Aug. 5. His organization is putting up a $3,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the heists.
“I’m not working anymore in Brooklyn,” said Luis Rivera, the cabbie who had to wait six hours before being able to report the crime against him.
“And my wife is urging me to consider another job,” Rivera said. “Masks can make it more difficult to identify people. I was scared [the robber] was going to shoot me.”
Another driver called his robbery “traumatic.
And that’s “not just for me, but for other drivers and for people who might be in the streets,” said the cabbie, Jesus Martinez. “Any person with a gun could be dangerous. I don’t know if I’m going to keep working in this business. I’m thinking about going into construction.”
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the proposed hot line.
Last year, the taxi federation offered a $3,000 reward for the killer who stabbed 27-year-old cabbie Ganiou Gandonou to death, in what Mateo described as a “savage attack.”
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