Being a Police Officer is a dangerous job, but some people ignore that fact because police departments cost money, and many people would prefer to have that money spent on their pet projects instead of on law enforcement.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police Officers face the second-highest on-the-job homicide rate of any occupation in America.
Among police officers, the occupational fatality rate from homicide is 4.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers. And homicides led all other causes of death among police officers in the 1992-1998 time period. During that time, homicides accounted for almost half of all police on-the-job fatalities.
Taxicab drivers face the highest on-the-job homicide rate, and that is the only occupation with a higher on-the-job homicide rate than police officers.
There is one overriding reason why taxi drivers have such a high on-the-job murder rate. Cabbies drive through some of the worst neighborhoods in our cities, and they do so while travelling alone with a significant amount of cash in hard to trace small bills.
Two examples from New York City shed some light on the situation.
When I was a college student in New York City, I used to take young women out on dates to Broadway Shows, the New York Philharmonic, and the American Ballet Theatre. We always took the subway down to midtown Manhattan before the show, but it was expected, by the young women I was dating and by their parents, that I would pay for a taxi ride home after the performance.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t always so easy to do because I lived in Washington Heights, the neighborhood just north of Harlem, and so did almost all of the young women I dated.
Several times when the young woman and I got into the taxi after the performance, and I told the taxi driver where I wanted to go, he said, “No.”
A couple of times the taxi driver even turned around, reached into the back seat, opened the back door, and said, “Get out.”
I never did. I was too bull-headed to let a cab driver push me around, so I usually talked them into taking us to Washington Heights by promising to give them a tip that would make their trip worthwhile.
Besides not wanting to drive into a bad neighborhood, they didn’t want to drive too far away from midtown Manhattan where they could get one fare and one tip after another.
But more than once I had to call over a New York City police officer and get help convincing the cabbie to drive us back to the neighborhood we lived in, even though it wasn’t one of the best neighborhoods in the city.
Recently, an article from the Columbia University News Service explained exactly why being a Gypsy Cab Driver in New York City is such a dangerous job.
Since 1990, 180 taxi drivers have been killed while on duty in New York City. Most of the taxi drivers who were murdered on-the-job in New York City drove gypsy cabs – the unmarked cars that will take you anywhere for a fare.
The term “gypsy cabs” once referred to illegal taxis that operated in the city’s worst neighborhoods. But, now the term “gypsy cab” usually refers to one of the 32,000 livery cab drivers who work for one of the hundreds of legal car service companies in the city.
Unlike the yellow cab drivers, who rarely work north of 116th Street in Manhattan, the gypsy drivers cruise some of the meanest, bleakest streets in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem and Washington Heights.
That’s why taxicab drivers face the highest on-the-job homicide rate in the country.
Some people say that a police officer could never be murdered on-the-job in Brockport. But until last September some of those same people said there could never be a riot in Brockport. Then there was a riot in Brockport.
Around 12:30 AM on Sunday morning September 21, 2014 the Brockport Police were called to corner of Clinton Street and Main Street because there were so many college students in the streets celebrating Homecoming Weekend that cars couldn’t get through.
The students had overflowed out of the bars and were partying in the streets. Starting with Rocco’s Bar, the Brockport Police shut down all of the bars in downtown Brockport. At one point police estimated that there were about a thousand people in the street.
Many additional police units from police departments across Monroe County had to come to Brockport to help disperse the unruly crowd.
So the next time you think about bad-mouthing the Brockport Police, think before you speak. Think about what you would say to the family if a Brockport Police Officer was murdered while on-the-job protecting the streets of Brockport.