SPD Blames Victim For Gas Drive Offs

Not sure what to think about this:

In about a month, Shreveport police will start fining owners of fueling stations who call them about gas drive-offs.

Stealing gasoline or diesel fuel still is illegal. But because of a new ordinance that gained City Council’s approval, businesses must share the blame.

Gassing up without paying first now is against the law. Credit or debit cards at the pump or inside still are OK, but cash or checks must be presented up front. Attendants and their bosses face a fine or jail time if a fuel theft happens on their watch.

On the one hand, it seems silly to require people to take care of their own business. If the business wants to be careless about their money, well, isn’t that their business? One of the comments to the story asks if the next ordinance will fine victims of burglaries if they left their house unlocked.

On the other hand, the cops have to respond to all these drive offs, and there would not be drive offs if the station made people pay first.

On yet another hand, it looks like the whole problem is the fault of one business: Murphy Oil, the company that runs the gas stations at (where else) Wal-Mart. Here’s the stats for drive offs in 2008:

Top gas theft locations by company:

Murphy USA: 147
Circle K: 14
Chevron: 11
Petro: 9
Exxon: 8

Given that they’ve got ten times the drive offs of the next competitor, why not just tell Murphy Oil they get no police response until they get their act together, rather than passing an ordinance that impacts all stations, whether they have a problem or not?

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3 Comments on “SPD Blames Victim For Gas Drive Offs”

  1. jbevans Says:

    The figures tells us nothing unless they are set against their total number is customers. In many locales, police already charge a fee for false burglar alarms. At Sam’s, the gasoline depot requires both a Sam’s card and prepay and they take no cash. That seems to work.

    It really doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

  2. wheeler Says:

    i wondered about the totals, but figured – because there is a circle k on every corner – the first two are probably similar.

    here’s my other question. the wal mart stations say “pump, then pay.” given that wal-mart is an intelligent business, surely that means they have added things up and decided the costs of requiring pay first outweigh benefit of avoiding a few drive offs. so who is the shreveport council to disagree?


  3. […] as the article says happened, using those signs might upset a few customers. Still, like I said here, I tend to agree that the law is paternalistic and unfair. Explore posts in the same categories: […]


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