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Taxi drivers face rising targeted threat of distraction thefts and street crime, warns LTDA

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) has raised the alarm about a growing number of incidents in which taxi drivers are either becoming victims of crime or witnessing criminal activities first hand.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, addressed the issue in a recent editorial in TAXI Newspaper, expressing deep concern over the escalating frequency of phone and jewellery snatching, muggings, and thefts occurring in or around vehicles caught in traffic.

One particular scam which appears to be on the rise, involves a distraction theft method targeting taxi drivers. McNamara explained that perpetrators employ a deliberate strategy whereby a cyclist purposely collides with the rear of a stationary taxi while it is trapped in traffic. The cyclist then swiftly lays on the ground, pretending to be injured, until the driver exits the cab and approaches the scene. At this point, the cyclist suddenly springs up and engages in conversation with the driver, employing various tactics that range from aggressive behavior to offering apologies.

McNamara said: “Unfortunately, we are taking an increasing number of calls where the cabbie has either been the victim of a crime or they anecdotally report that they have witnessed yet another phone or jewellery snatch, or a mugging or theft from a vehicle that is stuck in traffic.

“The latest scam that appears to be on the increase is a distraction theft. This is where a cyclist collides with the nearside rear of the cab, normally when the cab is stationary in traffic, he lays on the ground and stays there until the driver gets out the cab and walks around to the near side.

“He then gets up and engages the driver in conversation, sometimes aggressively, sometimes apologising. Whilst he is doing this one or sometimes two others, grab the driver’s phone and float bag and ride off, the cyclist involved in the 'accident' then also rides off.”


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