This quick life hack can prevent theft and it’s simple enough to do, so take note. When you stop to fill your car up with gas and pull up to the pump, make sure you lock your car door. Too many people simply exit the vehicle and get to work pumping gas, leaving their wallet or purse vulnerable to thieves who can sneak into your car and swipe your belongings. It’s an easy target, but it doesn’t have to be.
This type of burglary is called “sliding” and there’s been an uptick in these incidents around Los Angeles recently, though this type of crime is common. While an unsuspecting person stands at the gas station pump filling up the car tank, another car in an adjacent gas stall might have a “slider” waiting to pounce. Once the person has left the driver’s seat and is standing at the pump, they sneak out of their car and into the passenger side of the the vehicle they’ll steal from, all while staying low and out of the person’s eye level. If the door is unlocked, they can quickly grab a phone, wallet, or purse, shut the door, hop back into their car and drive away.
It’s a quick and easy crime and when the car owner gets back in, they’ll be completely surprised to find their belongings have gone missing.
Of course, it’s common sense: simply roll up your windows and lock your car when you exit while pumping gas. Also be aware of your surroundings and if you note a car seeming to just be sitting in an adjacent pump bay but they aren’t pumping gas, you might want to continue to roll on by. Better safe than sorry.
Many people weighed in with comments on social media about this type of theft, with some already following the recommendation to lock their car. One person noted their safety approach: “When I put my car in park, only the driver door unlocks so this helps with that and I always put my purse on the driver floor when I get out to pump gas AND still hit the ‘lock doors’ on my key fob while I’m pumping.”
Another person commented: “It is a slight inconvenience but it is worth it. I just take the card and keys and lock everything else in the car… There are security video cameras where I get gas.”
One commenter explained: “I grew up in a dangerous city now in the ‘burbs.’ An unlocked door of any kind anywhere is still not in my vocabulary. I even keep my house locked when I go out to cut grass or alone anywhere with my car in public.”
Another commenter explained another option: “I always lock my car at the gas station and take my wallet with me. You should always lock your car doors even in the suburbs. Thieves don’t respect areas and they lurk everywhere. And one more thing: keep valuables out of sight, throw them in the trunk.”