Or… how to survive a trip to the pumps.
We hear so much these days about cyber safety and preventing identity theft. What about personal, physical safety? Do you know how to avoid an attack while filling up at the gas station?
- Stop whatever you are doing and be fully focused on the task at hand. Yes, pumping gas into your car is boring! You’re going through your ‘to-do’ list in your head. Maybe scrolling on your phone or tending to baby or rambunctious children in the back seats. STOP!!
If you typically allow your children to be in charge; they are noisy, uncontrolled, chaotic… the gas pump is one of the places they simply cannot be allowed to carry on and be a distraction. Thieves and attackers typically look for chaos in order to grab what they want or to become lost in the crowd. There are plenty of videos on the net showing women being abducted in the middle of crowds. Some people even stand there watching as it happens. Chances are no one will come to your aid. Some might but don’t count on it. Put yourself in a situation where you do not need to be rescued… even by yourself.
You can make it a game for your children that when we get to the special place, the gas pump, we all are quiet. Frame it however works for you but get control of the situation before you drive up to the pumps.
2. It is not always possible to go for gas during the day and now that we are in daylight savings, darkness falls earlier. If you must go for gas after dark, choose a well lit area. I suggest a grocery store gas station or a busy convenience store. do not go to that station that sits by itself and creeps you out during the day. Look for security cameras and park near one that sees the most. That way IF something happens it is caught on camera and the police have a better chance of figuring out what happened.
3. Put your back against something solid. There are going to be times when you need to look at the payment screen on the pump. Be sure your back is to your vehicle and that no one can sneak up on you from behind.
4. Whenever possible, pay at the pump. This means you do not go to the window to purchase anything. If you must go to the window, LOCK YOUR CAR!! TAKE YOUR PURSE WITH YOU AND YOUR PHONE!!
The image above is of a woman having her purse stolen while she pumps gas. See the sneaky thief on the opposite side of her car? To make it harder for this opportunistic thief, lock your door. Place your purse on the seat closest to where you will be standing. My gas tank access is on the drover’s side so my purse should be on that seat or between the door and the seat so it is closer to me and not to a potential thief. I have lost count of the number of articles I have read about women having their purses stolen out of their cars WHILE THE CAR WAS PARKED IN THEIR OWN GARAGE!
Do not leave valuables in your car EVER. Just because you do not steal does not mean you cannot become a victim.
As soon as a new security system, garage door opener or supposed ‘super secure’ car comes on the market, thieves are already (or HAVE already) figured out how to thwart the system.
5. Check your vehicle before getting back in. You would be surprised at what can go missing or who might be in there while your back was turned ‘for just an instant’.
6. Do not carry anything with your address in your car. Meaning, when you get your car registration either put the copy that does not have your address on it in your glove box OR carry it in our purse or wallet at all times. If a thief gets a hold of your keys and has your address, they can go to your home and clean it out before you get there, or lie in wait to attack you. This also means you need to be sure to clean your car out on a regular basis of mail and any other item that has your address.
7. Take a self defense class. Yes. do it. It will change your life.
8. If you keep your purse with you at the pump, make sure it is closed and strapped across your body.
9. Consider carrying a concealed weapon. If you do, make sure it is easily accessible to you but not easily taken form you. Take a class and learn how to properly use your weapon of choice.
10. Do not assume that because you are a peaceful person and would not hurt others that you are exempt form being harmed. There is a reason why deer, and cattle have antlers and horns… to defend themselves.
11. Get a new mindset that it is OK to fight back and to defend yourself. You are under NO obligation to be a victim.