Study: Cameras In Taxis Reduce Murders

The CDC has released a study on the impact of surveillance cameras on taxi driver homicides. The study found that the number of taxi drivers killed was lower in cities where the cabs had cameras in them. The CDC found "a three times lower homicide rate in the cities where taxicabs use security cameras than the control cities and a seven times lower homicide rate when compared to the rates before installation of the cameras."

The study says taxis drivers have one of the highest homicide rates of any occupation (taxicab driver homicide rate was 7.4 per 100,000 drivers, compared to the overall rate of 0.37 per 100,000 workers.) But even then, they weren't working with a lot of data to start with. Most cities had less than a few per year.

Does this study convince you? Do you think you could expect to see a similar drop in any location where cameras are installed?


One aspect that is unclear is whether or not the passenger is always the cause of the (driver) homicide?

Does this stat extend to their 'home lives' as well? Taxi drivers don't get paid a whole lot, work weird schedules, and pick up fares in seedy locations.

It was deaths on the job. I think it would be interesting to see if there was a difference in passengers and non-passengers .

@Brian in regards to cabbies picking up bad fares

I lived in Baltimore, for 6 years. During those 6 years I had a number of taxi cab rides (whether to fells point or the train station) and always had casual convos with the cab drivers because I was a cab driver at the NJ shore for a summer when I was younger. Cab Drivers in Baltimore are smarter than you would think. They would work the colleges like Towson, Goucher, Loyola, Hopkins, etc and get lots of cab fares from students. Especially ones going to bars. Most of the cab drivers I talked to were well aware of the "no fare zones" in the East and West parts of town. Sure, some play with fire and go after any business, but there were a lot of others who stuck to downtown where its nice and handling the college student fares.

Here is an interesting article from the Baltimore sun about a taxi company that wants to replace the state-mandated protective guard with security cameras.

"Baltimore Taxi Affiliation Services, which operates 100 cabs under the Arrow Cab and Baltimore City Taxi brands, recently asked the Maryland Public Service Commission to consider amending state regulations to allow for either a shield or a camera in Baltimore cabs."

PS I think that company is crazy to suggest substituting shields for cameras. The camera should be a supplement to a glass shield at the very least. Pretty bizarre if you ask me.

Personally, I think the statistical sampling is too small to draw any really valid conclusions based on this 'study'.

However, I do think that the deterrent factor would be higher for taxis (vs retail, municipal, etc) simply because the perp needs to enter a small, enclosed space (back seat) with identifying features exposed, knowing the cameras are there. (cab drivers would hesitate to pick up someone wearing a mask, no?)

"The study found a three times lower homicide rate in the cities where taxicabs use security cameras than the control cities and a seven times lower homicide rate when compared to the rates before installation of the cameras."

3x lower rate vs 'control' cities? (without cams in cabs) No way that proves anything - there are far too many variables... i.e. I don't believe you can have a group of 'control' cities and compare one thing [taxi driver homicides, avg consumption of chocolate ice cream per capita, etc] and say this comparison proves anything with an entire sampling consisting of only 15 cities.

7x lower rate vs before cams installed? Since the 2 rates are reflective of essentially the same sample (just during different time spans [pre and post camera installation]) this conclusion is far more valid, imo.