The front-page story in the Tribune today – at least on the newsstand tab version – is a look at “high profile” attacks on cab drivers, with the implication throughout being that in these tough economic times, cabbies are at a higher risk of being mugged.
But I couldn’t help but think of this, from Kari Lydersen’s October cover story in the Reader about Walid Ziada:
Cabbies do risky work: driving alone, late at night, carrying cash, they are prime targets. But according to reports from drivers and a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Labor and Employment Relations that was released October 7, the scariest people many drivers face aren’t robbers with guns or lead pipes in “bad” neighborhoods but rather inebriated white-collar types partying in trendy areas.
“People think the dangerous areas are where the black, Puerto Rican, Mexican people live,” says [United Taxidrivers Community Council organizer Peter] Enger. “But we suffer the most violence in the most highly trafficked areas. It’s the drunks and rowdies who perpetrate violence on the cabdrivers. Is it because [drivers] are immigrants, because of prejudice? We don’t know. But what we do know is they do it because they can.”