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The Thin Yellow Line
Purse-snatchers and other lawbreakers now have another force to reckon with in New York City: a contingent of watchful taxi drivers. No, you won't see cabbies engaged in high-speed chases down 42nd Street, but thanks to the efforts of several Penn alumni, they'll be able to dial 911 when they witness crimes and other emergencies on their routes.
   A few dozen of the city's cabs have been outfitted with cellular phones so drivers can act as eyes and ears for the city's police department. The organization behind this new "block watch on wheels" is Cab Watch, co-founded by Jason Diaz, W'95, Steve Libenson, C'93, and Michael Manasse, W'90, L'95. By this summer 50 taxi drivers will have been issued phones, compliments of Sprint, and trained by police to report crimes. Cab Watch hopes to put phones in hundreds of more cabs as the program continues.
   Diaz, a management consultant for Monitor Company and president of Cab Watch, first got involved in promoting public safety as a Penn student, after a classmate of his, Samir Shah, W'95, was mugged and shot in West Philadelphia. He later worked with Libenson, a colleague at Monitor, and Manasse, an attorney, to found Cab Watch, which has the backing of the mayor, the police department, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Other alumni who played a role in its development are Shah, Carl Engle, W'96, Satya Patel, W'96, and Al Copersino, WG/L'95.

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Copyright 1998 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 5/25/98