Video cameras ride shotgun for cabbies
By JULIA ILES
STREET crime, fare evasion and violence have made some taxi drivers fear for their safety.
To combat crime the 13 owner-drivers of the Grafton Radio Taxi Co-operative have installed monitoring cameras in their vehicles.
"About 12 months ago one of the taxi drivers was assaulted, the taxi was trashed and the people drove off with it," vehicle owner and taxi driver Garry Thurgate said. He has worked in Grafton for 11 years.
"There has been a couple of incidents recently but we find 99 per cent of people are very good."
Taxi driver and owner Alex Johnston, who has driven a taxi for eight and a half years, believes the surveillance will markedly improve safety for Grafton drivers.
"Of course, my word it will help," he said.
"Not so long ago some clowns in the maxi-taxi cut a square out of the seat with a big knife."
If an incident occurs the video camera footage can easily be downloaded ? straight to the police.
"We see this as a great tool to identify persons misusing a taxi," said Sergeant Chris Tuite, of the Grafton police.
"Anything unruly, matters of assault and robbery, we will have video footage and still footage. Once we are able to identify them it will be the end of it."