Gas Station Safety Campaign
- Metropolitan Police Department and the National Crime Prevention Council Announce Gas Station Safety Campaign
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) have teamed up to create posters and tip cards to help educate and protect drivers from becoming victims of thefts of purses, wallets, and other personal property at gas stations. Unveiled today at the BP Station in the 4100 block of Alabama Avenue, SE, the materials will help drivers take simple steps to protect themselves when filling up at a gas station.
Gas stations provide criminals with a unique setting to catch their victims off guard. Many customers leave their car doors unlocked and their valuables in plain view while pumping gasoline and purchasing additional items inside, allowing thieves the few seconds they need to grab the valuable contents of the car and take off. The posters and tip cards remind consumers how they can stay safe and avoid becoming a victim of gas station theft.
"We're pleased to be working with the Metropolitan Police Department on this important initiative," said Al Lenhardt, president and CEO of NCPC. "We encourage all gas stations in the District of Columbia to display these posters at the pump and inside at the counter as a service to their customers. We also look forward to helping the MPD promote distribution of the tip cards throughout the District. Working together we can help prevent these thefts."
The campaign comes at a time when thefts committed at gas stations are on the rise across the region. The number of thefts from autos at gas stations rose from 89 in 2006 to 427 in 2007, a 380 percent increase in just one year. Stolen autos from gas stations also showed a rise of 93 percent from 2006 to 2007.
"Too often residents become the victims of crimes of opportunity," said Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier. "We hope that through this educational effort that customers pumping gas or running to the convenience store will think twice before leaving their keys in the car or their windows down."