Wed | Aug 4, 2021

11-y-o raped by CABBIE CREEP

Company backs digital identifiers to ensure passenger safety

Published:Friday | May 21, 2021 | 12:16 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Taxis have figured prominently in abductions in recent months.
Taxis have figured prominently in abductions in recent months.

A probe is under way by investigators to locate a taxi driver who abducted an 11-year-old girl on Monday and allegedly took her to Seaview Gardens, where she was raped. Reports reaching The Gleaner are that the Corporate Area student took a taxi...

A probe is under way by investigators to locate a taxi driver who abducted an 11-year-old girl on Monday and allegedly took her to Seaview Gardens, where she was raped.

Reports reaching The Gleaner are that the Corporate Area student took a taxi from Duhaney Park to go home.

The girl realised that the cabbie drove past her stop near Berger Paints on Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11, and took her to a Seaview Gardens address in the vicinity of Chesterfield Drive.

A report was lodged to the St Andrew South police the same day.

Senior Superintendent of Police Charmaine Shand, who is in charge of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, confirmed the assault report.

Shand said that between January 1 and April 19, CISOCA recorded 551 reports of sexual offences and child abuse islandwide.

Monday’s abduction and rape represent a growing trend of serious crime involving transport operators, whether using licensed taxis or ‘robots’ – vernacular for unregistered cabs.

Up to May 8, a total of 18 persons had fallen victim to criminals posing as taxi operators, a review of police incident reports by The Sunday Gleaner has revealed.

Among the targets have been three teenagers – in St Catherine, Manchester, and St Thomas.

Eleven of the 18 incidents captured in police logs up to May 9 occurred in Kingston, St Andrew, and St Catherine, which all have dense population centres.

At least one entity, Travelr Taxi Service, has joined forces with Radio Diamond Limited to promote passenger safety through an initiative dubbed ‘Hear Our Cry Ja’.

Damar Hutchinson, CEO of Travelr, said that his organisation has implemented a web-based system that automatically transmits to customers the picture and name of the assigned cab driver.

“The drivers will communicate with the dispatcher for the safe pick-up and the same procedure for drop-off. Our aim is to provide smart travelling in all forms, including technology, using social media, namely WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook, to reach more customers,” said Hutchinson.

Female passengers also receive a 10 per cent discount.

Alicia-Ann Carpio-Roxborough, managing director of Radio Diamond Ltd, told The Gleaner that Hear Our Cry Ja forms part of a campaign to promote smart and safe travel for female commuters.

“Too often we hear the stories of women and children gone missing while commuting in taxis, or you hear stories of taxi men taking away their passengers.

“It is only fair for a taxi company to provide safety and transparency in the commute of female travellers,” Carpio-Roxborough said.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com

Travelr provided The Gleaner with simple and effective measures to use when boarding a taxi.

• Send your live location to family and friends before boarding.

• Report any form of harassment to the police.

• For a route taxi, always observe the other occupants before boarding.

• Never get in a route taxi that does not have a fixed destination.

• Never ask a random route taxi to divert from its original route.