Columbus is the latest city to adopt a Taxis on Patrol anticrime program, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Specially trained Yellow Cab drivers will report suspicious activities to police as part of the program. Cameras — similar to dashboard cameras in police cruisers — are being installed in each of Yellow Cab’s 130 vehicles to help document what happens and to protect the drivers from crime. The cab company will foot the bill for the installations.
Columbus police have helped develop a video and other training materials to show drivers what they need to do, such as how to accurately describe a suspect. The materials also show what not to do, including getting personally involved. A version of Taxis on Patrol has existed since the 1970s, when a New York suburb first used cab drivers to report crimes. In late 2010, the Maryland-based Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association decided to revitalize the program for nationwide use. Since 2011, cities in Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi — as well as Toledo — have announced the creation of local Taxis on Patrol.