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Conducts Annual Safety Hearing
There were 20
reported taxi robberies and no homicides between January and November
2005, according to statistics furnished by the Police Department’s
Taxi Detail. Inspector Farrell Suslow presented the figures at the Taxi
Commission’s annual taxi safety hearing, held Dec. 1.
Commission Executive Director Heidi Machen presided at the hearing,
with cab driver/Commissioners Paul Gillespie, Mary McGuire and Marty
Smith in attendance.
The number of robberies was double that of the year before, but in line
with figures for other recent years. The last murder of a San Francisco
taxi driver occurred in 2002.
Three suspects responsible for seven robberies were identified and arrested
on account of images downloaded from taxi security cameras. But Sgt.
Vince Simpson reported that only eight good images were recovered from
the 20 robberies. He attributed the problem to prior activation of the
cameras’ panic button. Once the button is pushed it takes a series
of pictures, but the camera then freezes in order to preserve the recorded
images. It will take no further pictures until it is reset. Options
for fixing the problem include eliminating the panic button or reprogramming
the camera to take fewer images and prevent it from freezing.
Anne Reynolds, emergency planner with the city’s Office of Emergency
Services, addressed the hearing on the subject of integrating taxis
into the city’s emergency transportation planning. Other topics
of discussion were vehicle life and safety standards and the safety
component of driver training schools.
Inspector Suslow, a fixture in the Taxi Detail for most of the past
28 years, retired in January.