How to Protect Against Gas Station "Sliders"
Sliders are a particularly brazen type of thief that victimize gas station patrons while refueling. While paying attention to the gas pump, a ‘slider’ hops out of a nearby getaway car, opens the victim's passenger door and steals whatever they can get their hands on. The slider then hops back in their getaway car and leaves the scene undetected.
With sliding increasing in popularity, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
Before pulling up to the pump set yourself up for safety. Choose a pump on the perimeter of the refueling bays as opposed to in-between. Bays in the middle encourage complacency. If another car pulls up next to you while you’re refueling in this position, it's easier to overlook. If you’ve selected an outer bay and a car pulls up to the outside of your vehicle, it’ll heighten your awareness that something isn’t quite right. Outer bays will also force the slider to commit the crime in a more open area, not concealed by other cars and fuel pumps. Ultimately, this position lessens your risk of becoming a target.
Once you’ve pulled up to the outer bay, roll up your windows and exit your vehicle with your keys and your phone. Before refueling, lock your car, but hold onto your keys. For those sliders pulling recon duty, the flash of lights upon locking your vehicle will signal it's a no-go. Sliding is a quick pull. There's nothing in your car valuable enough to attempt a full break in while you’re standing a few feet away.
Now that you’ve made yourself a harder target, help yourself out even more. Once you’ve completed the payment process, turn your back to the pump. Focus your attention on whats going on around your vehicle. Is there a car that looks out of place, or someone making an approach? Some call it situational awareness, others refer to it as keeping your head on a swivel. Whatever you call it, don’t become complacent. Staying aware for the two minutes it takes to fill your tank will save you hours of headache later.
What to do if you’ve followed these steps and still become a victim? This is where your keys and phone come into play. If you notice something in progress or feel uneasy about a situation, press the panic button on your key fob. This will draw attention and send any potential slider scurrying back to their getaway car. If you observe them getting into a car, take notes on your phone.
While you may think you have a solid memory, when recalling a stressful situation the story can quickly become convoluted. The most important observations to make are a brief description of the slider, and the tag number of the vehicle they hop into. Save these notes onto your phone for a solid reference during any future investigations.
Sliding is a crime of opportunity. Remove the opportunity and ultimately keep yourself safe.
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