NYC livery cabbies get bulletproof vests

December 20, 2010 2:24:06 PM PST
A dozen livery cab drivers in New York City are getting bulletproof vests under a pilot program.

Cab driver Edwin DeJesus is one of the first to put on a bullet resistant vest as part of this new pilot program.

He believes it could mean the difference between life and death for fellow cabbies who work dangerous hours in tough neighborhoods.

"It's scary. Imagine we're trying to make money and live. It could happen to us," said Edwin DeJesus.

Security USA donated the 12 vests worth nearly $6,000.

The New York Federation of taxi drivers is also asking retired police officers to donate their vests too.

Federation president Fernando Mateo says the $450 vests are another level of protection for drivers in high crime areas.

"We have cameras we have partitions, we have GPS it has helped reduce robberies and murdered by 90 percent," said Mateo.

The federation is putting these vests in the hands of drivers in East New York, the south Bronx and Jamaica, Queens. They say these are high risk areas.

The private program comes on the heels of the Trevor Bell shooting in South Ozone Park.

Surveillance video shows his shooter reach around the back seat then point a gun at the father of two.

He's in critical condition at the hospital after being shot in the neck and legs.

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commission Kelly don't think the vests are necessary but certainly understand drivers concerns.

"I don't think they need to do that. But if they do it, as a private institution, they have a right to do it," said Bloomberg.

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