Thieves Target Durban Petrol Stations

Thieves Target Durban Petrol Stations

Bilking at petrol stations in and around Durban (also known as driving off without paying for one’s fuel) has become a recent worrying trend.

“Blue Security has received increased reports of local incidents with the most recent case occurring at an Umhlanga service station on Saturday afternoon just after 5pm,” said Blue Security community and media liaison officer, Andreas Mathios.

“A motorist driving a white Citroën filled up with R700 worth of fuel and exited the forecourt without paying,” Mathios said. “The vehicle departed whilst the petrol attendant was collecting the card machine to process the payment,” he said.

With these incidents increasing alarmingly service-station proprietors and management are urged to escalate security measures and train staff in an effort to prevent potential fuel theft from happening. “Bilking not only impacts the service station’s revenue but can also put staff, customers, vehicles and property at risk. It is therefore imperative that preventative measures are put in place,” he said.

  • Create awareness amongst petrol-pump attendants
  • Make sure staff have a clear view of all vehicles parked at the pumps
  • Train staff to note registration numbers of vehicles on arrival
  • Ensure the forecourt is well-lit at night
  • Have at least two members of staff working on the forecourt at all times
  • Provide petrol attendants with panic buttons for quick alerts
  • Install an efficient, strategically-placed CCTV system
  • Create a system on the forecourt which negates leaving a customer’s vehicle unattended before payment has been processed.

“Technological advances, though, are also assisting in the fight against bilking – specifically Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR),” Mathios said. “Cameras using this technology provide a smart crime-fighting solution for preventative policing at petrol stations and are used with great success by Blue Security customers,” he said. “These high-technology overhead cameras capture images of the number plates of vehicles driving through an area and automatically send real time notifications to the South African Police Service database of stolen, hijacked and wanted vehicles.

“If the number plate of a vehicle captured by a camera matches that of a vehicle listed on the database, a special high-alert notification is circulated to the police and security companies, enabling law enforcement officers to swiftly respond to the scene. ANPR cameras are a valuable crime-fighting tool,” he said.

“Service station retailers are also urged to create a network and share information of petrol-station criminal activity – a Neighbourhood Watch of garages,” he said. “Raising awareness amongst staff, utilizing the best that technology can offer, increasing security and networking with other service stations in the area can go a long way in leading to successful prosecutions, fines or even imprisonment for such offenders,” he said.

Blue Security

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