NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It will be harder to catch a livery cab overnight as service scales back due to a spike in attacks against drivers.
Fernando Mateo, spokesman for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, says in the last week alone, four drivers were raped, shot, stabbed and badly beaten.
“I am instructing the industry to reduce the service between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. in the morning. Those are the hours that most of these crimes are being committed,” Mateo said.
Gustavo Rodriguez got emotional when speaking about the fear he feels driving a livery cab to support his wife and children. He said he has been attacked and robbed on the job three times and is the latest victim of livery cab driver attacks.
“We have families to feed. It’s hard,” he told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez. “You don’t know if at any moment, these guys are going to take out a gun or knife and try to kill you.”
Mateo is also calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to bring back a police task force assigned to oversee the safety of livery cab drivers, Sanchez reported.
“Holidays are coming, a lot of people are out there desperate for money. These guys are working longer hours to be able to put toys under the Christmas tree of their families,” Mateo said.
In one incident, police are searching for a man who they said stabbed and robbed a livery cab driver in Brooklyn over the weekend weekend.
According to authorities, the suspect got into the livery cab outside 1234 Halsey St. in Bushwick at 10:55 p.m. on Saturday and displayed a knife.
The suspect then demanded cash and after the cab driver refused, the suspect stabbed the 47-year-old cab driver multiple times, causing him to lose control of the car and crash into a fence, police said.
The suspect then stole the cab driver’s iPhone and an undetermined amount of cash before fleeing southbound on Knickerbocker Avenue, police said.
Authorities described the suspect as a black male, about 5’10” tall, 180 pounds and wearing a red track suit with white stripes.
Anyone with information regarding the assault and robbery is urged to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
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