Gas Station Safety Tips
City of Takoma Park
7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
November 10, 2010
|Public Information Office |
301/891.7142 or 240/338.2901
Because self-service gas pumps are used by most people today, carjackers have identified service stations as excellent locations to find plenty of victims. Carjackers simply wait for the moment when they can most easily move into a vehicle and drive away. Many drivers leave their keys in the ignition and their cars unlocked when they get out of their cars to use self-service gas pumps. While the driver is putting gas in the tank, the carjacker can simply open the car door, get in the car and drive away. This is especially dangerous if your children and/or pets are in the vehicle.
Sometimes, the carjacker will wait until the driver goes to the gas station's cashier to pay for the gas. While the driver is busy paying the cashier, the carjacker will drive off with the car.
Carefully consider where and when you buy gas. Choose a safe, familiar area during daylight hours whenever possible. In addition, make a practice of filling up your tank when it is half-empty, if possible. Never let your gas supply get so low that you are forced to stop for fuel in an unsafe or unfamiliar area at a dangerous time.
In addition, sometimes it's not a carjacker but a thief who chooses self-service gas pumps for his crimes. Most people will leave their keys in the ignition and their purses and/or wallets, cell phones, etc.on the passenger seat of the vehicle. With doors unlocked, it's easy for a thief to open the door, take your belongings and flee. It only takes seconds.
Some tips when you are at a gas station:
- Never leave your keys in the ignition. Take them out of the vehicle and lock your car while you are pumping gas.
- Do not leave your valuables in plain sight when you exit your vehicle. Even with doors locked and no keys, the thief cannot resist your valuables.
- Pay attention to your surroundings . Do not let your cell phone distract you. (As a side note, using your cell phone at a gas pump is very dangerous. Cell phones and other electronic devices may have the potential to emit electrical charges, and should therefore be left in the vehicle during fueling).
- If you are going to pay for your gas inside the cashier's office, please do not leave your children in the vehicle, regardless if your doors are locked or not. Take them with you. It may seem like a hassle, but consider the alternative.
- If you are using a credit card at the gas pump, always take your receipt or hit the "clear" or "no" button when it asks before leaving. Otherwise, you leave your credit card information open for the next person.