Crime is nothing new in New Orleans and violent crime is once again on the rise. This week another cab driver was found shot to death in his cab in New Orleans East. This news has shocked and devastated local cabbies and the entire community. In March another driver was shot in Metairie, and in May 2011 cabbie Billy Kerner was killed by a passenger in his cab. In total five cabbies have been killed in the past two years.
Cab driver Kerner’s family lobbied lawmakers to create legislation that would make the killing of a cab driver a death penalty offense in Louisiana. State Senator Danny Martiny (R-Metairie) drafted the legislation that was passed in the recent 2012 legislative session. In June, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal signed into law Act 679 which revises existing law to specifically include cab drivers as a first degree murder offense punishable by death.
In addition, the New Orleans City Council recently passed an ordinance that will require cabs have security cameras. Cabbies are hopeful that these new safety measures combined with harsher penalties will help keep cabbies safe and operating in New Orleans.
United Cab Companies President Joseph Messina recently said that unfortunately criminals see cabs as rolling ATM’s. Admittedly being a cab driver is precarious and more dangerous than most occupations but local and state authorizes are hoping that these measures send a strong message. The message is that they’re serious about preventing and severely prosecuting these crimes.