BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Police Department Hackney Carriage Unit plans to increase patrols on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after two recent sexual assaults. In both, the victims were picked up in Boston and then driven elsewhere.
In the first, August 6th, the woman told police she got into a black livery type sedan and was driven to Newton and sexually assaulted. The second, early Sunday morning, the victim hailed what she thought was a taxi in Brighton and was driven to the Boston/Cambridge line and also assaulted. Police do not believe the two attacks are connected and so far, there have been no arrests.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports
The news was frustrating for 43-year veteran Boston Cab Driver Jim Christie. “I wasn’t surprised, but I was saddened that it happened and that it came to this point that it actually finally happened. He was worried something like this would take place, citing an increase in what he called, gypsy drivers in Boston.
“You’ve got five of them and you have no idea what they’re doing,” he said while standing outside South Station. Five vehicles, all with livery tags, were lined up near the cab stand. We watched as some solicited fares, which is illegal. “A livery car is a prearranged pickup,” he explained.
Yes, some of the vehicles were waiting on customers who’d ordered their services, but Christie is sure others were not. “There’s a reason we’re regulated,” he said. He hopes potential passengers take notice. “It never crossed my mind that someone would, you know, perpetrate as a cab driver and they’re really not,” said Tatiana Fernandes, a single mother who uses cabs often to get to and from work.
Christie reminds Fernandes and others that a real Boston cab will have a hackney medallion with the cab number on the back of the car along with a decal on the side showing it’s licensed in Boston. “And as you’re getting into the cab and if you see the partition in the back, chances are you’re in a legitimate Boston taxi cab,” he explained.
And if you didn’t call or use a car service app like Uber to solicit a ride, his advice is don’t get inside. “You have no guarantee that he’s legitimate,” Christie said.
Christie was hoping to see more enforcement. A BPD Spokesperson said the extra patrols will focus on the Seaport area, along with the Allston and Brighton neighborhoods near bars where college students often hang out.