A Stop-n-Rob is your local Kwik-E-Mart or 7-Eleven that you would stop in to get a candy bar, gas, or a soda. The problem is that robbers use that same store to get quick cash. Check out this police training video about a Stop-n-Rob.
So that is just a funny spoof, but the danger is real. Many people have been hurt walking into or being present during a robbery. So what can you do to prevent it? Be alert and keep an eye out for things that tell you there is crime happening or about to happen.
Driving a truck in the oil fields right now I get to see a lot of stores. I fill up my truck two or three times a day with fuel and need to use the restroom form time to time. The picture at the top is a gas station in San Antonio I stopped at last week. And I almost kept going.
Looking at the picture, you can see bars in the windows, a giant outside lock to pad lock the door, and poles to keep someone from driving into the place. All this is for after-hours burglaries. The part that concerns me is there is an after-hours window with bulletproof glass for business after dark (the picture doesn’t show it very well). These are very expensive to put in and are generally only used in places that have a high crime rate.
So what do I look for when I stop to get fuel or a candy bar? Here are some things I’m concerned with:
- Freeway Access – If it’s quick and easy for me, then it’s easy for bad guys to get away.
- Graffiti – New stuff isn’t a concern, nor stuff that’s been there for a long time, it’s when there is different ages that shows it’s an ongoing problem that no one has bothered to solve yet that concerns me (bonus points for you if you know what the local graffiti means. It’s hard to find out because gangs and gang enforcement generally keep that close).
- Lighting – The better the lighting inside and out the generally less criminals like it and the easier it is for you to see danger.
- Amount of People – If there is no one there I’m generally concerned, if there are a lot of people walking in and out, at least there isn’t a robbery going on right now.
- Type of People – Are they like you? Are they local gang bangers? Are they travelers? What does your gut tell you about the people you can see?
- Type of Cars – The vehicles in the parking lot can tell you a lot about the people that may be inside.
- Visibility Through Windows – Can you see what’s going on inside. It sucks to walk into a robbery in progress.
- Extra Security Measures – Is there anything that creates extra security for the store, bandit barriers, bulletproof glass, security guards, or cameras.
None of these are deal killers on their own, but together they tell me a lot about whether I want to stop there or not. I always try to stop when I have half a tank of gas left, then I can always go on to the next store if I don’t like that one.
Don’t be afraid to leave the station that you just pulled into. There is no shame in going down the street to avoid a robbery or worst.
Bonus Tip: I try to use the same places all the time. I get to know the people there and they get to know me. I know the flow and feel of what happens at the store and can tell if someone is out of place. That out of place person might be lost or might be there to do harm to you or others.