Boston Police Offer Tips to Identify Licensed Taxis After Recent Assaults

Following two reported incidents of sexual assault inside unmarked cars, police issued reminders about safely taking cabs.

Photo via Boston Police

Photo via Boston Police

After two women trying to hail cabs were reportedly sexually assaulted by the drivers, in two separate incidents in as many weeks,  police issued both warnings, and a chart, to help passengers identify a licensed Boston taxi so they can ensure they have a safe ride home.

“It is important to stress that the problem behavior here is that people are looking to victimize others. To do so, it appears they’re trying to both pass their vehicles off as legitimate taxi or livery options, and conceal their own identities,” according to a statement from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, which reiterated warnings posted by Boston Police officials, such as “use only licensed cabs or clearly identifiable livery service vehicles,” and “once in cab call friend or someone and let them know what cab you’re in.”

The warnings and information were distributed via Facebook and Twitter Monday after a second incident in Boston was reported where a woman was sexually assaulted by a driver that offered a ride, allegedly posing as a cab driver, in an unlicensed vehicle.

The first assault happened on August 6, after the victim left a Seaport District bar. According to reports, the woman got into a black sedan and was taken to an isolated spot in Newton, where she was raped.

Just two weeks later, on Sunday, August 18, a woman in Brighton got into a large sedan and was driven to Allston where the driver of the vehicle also attacked her.

After the two incidents, police have vowed to crack down on the unregulated cab industry. But in the meantime, they are warning passengers trying to get home late at night to do so in numbers, and to also scrutinize a vehicle and its driver prior to getting into a car. “Have credible and regulated cab company phone numbers saved to cell phone ahead of time,” police said on Monday, just a day after the second attack weas reported. “Make note of medallion number, or license plate…[and] travel with friends when possible. All vehicles are largely white with clear markings. All taxis have a Medallion number and all drivers carry Hackney identification.”