Gas stations today offer a lot more than they did years ago. You can stop at a gas station for gas, and also get a cup of coffee, a hot breakfast, snacks, or soda. Many gas stations also sell personal care products, over the counter medication, and even firewood. You can get everything you need at a gas station while filling up your tank.
High Crime Area
Gas stations tend to be high crime areas. Many gas stations are open all night long. During the late hours, the gas station attendant is often alone. They are standing in front of a cash register full of money, and they control the gas pumps. These circumstances make gas stations the perfect target for criminals.
Another reason that gas stations tend to be targeted for criminals is their locations. Many gas stations are located near the highway, which gives criminals a quick escape route after they have robbed the gas station. Police often patrol gas stations because they are high crime areas. Recently, they have been warning people of a new trend of dangerous crime that take place at gas stations. Police warn all women about this new crime because they are the primary targets.
Most crimes that take place as gas stations involve petty theft and robbery, but the new trend is much worse. This is the reason why authorities want to make sure that everyone knows what to watch out for. The crime is referred to as “sliding.” The targets are not gas stations or employees. The main marks are customers, particularly women driving SUVs.
When a woman pulls up to the pump to get her gas, the slider creeps over to the passenger side of the vehicle and slowly opens the door. This gives them a chance to steal her purse and other valuables, without her even seeing. Because most women leave their purses on the passenger seat, it is the perfect opportunity for them to grab it. When most people pump gas, whether they are male or female, they aren’t looking in their vehicles. Most people either stare at the pump to see how close they are to being finished pumping, or they look around, focusing on the other customers at the gas station. This gives the sliders the perfect opportunity to steal whatever they can from inside the vehicle.
The police have chosen the term, sliders or sliding for the crime because this is the way that the criminals approach the vehicle. They know that they need to stay out of sight and close to the ground if they are going to be able to pull off the crime successfully.
A Worldwide Problem
This crime isn’t just something that occurs in rural areas where criminals don’t need to worry about there being too many cars around. It also doesn’t only happen in big cities where there is plenty of opportunities. The crime wave was first reported in the United Kingdom. It didn’t take long before it spread to the United States. Authorities in Miami, Florida, Houston, Texas, and Washington D.C. have reported a massive spike in these crimes, and plenty of reports have been filed.
A Dallas, Texas gas station owner spoke to the news about this new trend. He says that the crimes take place in less than 15 seconds, and the criminals are very good at what they do. At his gas station alone, he has had six female customers report being targets of these crimes.
When the thieves get their hands on the purse, they often take the credit cards and cash. One woman reported that after falling victim to sliding, $600 was charged on her credit card within 20 minutes. The thieves use the cards before the victim has a chance to cancel their credit cards.
According to Jim Woods, a police officer in Houston, Texas, the sliders aren’t violent toward their victims. They slide into the vehicles undetected because they want to steal the personal property without any confrontation. The best way to avoid being a victim of this crime is to keep your purse and any personal belongings of any worth on your driver’s seat while you are pumping gas. Also, pay close attention to your surrounding. Check the side mirror on your passenger side often. This will help you see if anyone is sliding up on the side of your vehicle. You can also take your keys out of the ignition and lock your doors while you are pumping your gas. This will keep the thieves from getting in your vehicle. There are cameras all around the gas station, and the attendant can see the monitors; however, they are busy, and they don’t have the time to watch the monitors constantly. It is up to you to protect yourself and your personal belongings. Staying vigilant and alert is the best way to keep from being a victim of this crime.