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Lawton Cab Drivers Increase Safety Precautions

Lawton, OKLa._In light of the recent robberies and assaults on Lawton cab drivers, one Lawton cab company said they're not taking any more chances and have stepped up their safety measures. Owner Chire Splawn, said she's hoping to protect her cab drivers from would- be robbers.

Splawn said she learned about the dangers of the job a long time ago. Twenty years ago, her uncle, also a cab driver, was murdered here in Lawton while on the job.

"In October 17th of 1992 my uncle was found at Deyo Mission Road, shot at least three times. Its still a cold case, been twenty years", said Splawn.

His death was followed by another Lawton cab driver who was stabbed and killed in 1994. In 2007, another driver was shot in the head. She said it's instances like this one that has changed the way she trains her drivers.

"If you go to a residence and you don't see anyone, that's a key signal right there, lock your doors get out into the street. A lot of our cabs have top lights which light up, it allows them to see around the vehicle which gives them more safety. I prefer that you sit in the front seat, that way I can see what you're doing and it gives us an advantage", said Splawn.

She said without these safety precautions a simple ride can quickly take a dangerous turn.

"A female saw a flagger, went ahead and stopped. Gentlemen got in the car wanted a fifty or a hundred. She says I don't carry that much money, he ended up hitting her in the eye and blackened the side of her face. We've even had drivers going to residence getting hurt...one was at Columbia square, she cut him with a box cutter", said Splawn.

She said even with all her experience, she was no exception to the risks of the job and last year even had to shoot a robber outside of her station.

"Other than being scared for my life, I just didn't want a little kid to watch someone get shot, regardless of how serious it ended up being", said Splawn.

She said she also tell drivers exactly what they're in for, hard truths that could save their life.

"It's not a game, its a very dangerous job, it's like being an officer without a cage and a gun or a vest. You can't go out there and think you're just going to pick people up and there's not going to be a problem. You have to consider everybody a problem." 

Splawn said that crimes against cab drivers are typically seasonal. She said all "cabbies" know that they need to be on heightened alert during the holidays and in summer.

 

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