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The information above provides only a generalized description of gas drive-offs. You must combine the basic facts with a more specific understanding of your local problem. Analyzing the local problem will help you design a more effective response strategy.
Responses tend to work best when based on reliable data about problem behaviors, sites, times of day, physical features, and offender attributes in your setting.
In addition to criminal justice agencies, the following groups have an interest in reducing gas drive-offs and can be useful partners in gathering information about the problem and responding to it.
Gasoline retailers. These retailershave an interest in reducing gasoline drive-offs to maximize their profits. They possess financial data on their profits and losses, and larger companies may have information about security and station design. They may treat this as proprietary information they are reluctant to share; but, in some cases they may be prepared to share the costs of identified solutions.
Elected officials. People with the power to gauge public concern about the problem and enact legislation to address it.
The media. With their contacts within the community, the media can call attention to gasoline drive-offs and their impact on both the community and on police resources. They can also describe what retailers can do to avoid becoming victims.
Private security. These companies, which keep records on electronic devices in use (e.g., security cameras, license-plate readers, credit-card readers, and fuel dispensers equipped with a password-controlled remote) can supply evidence after violations.
Law-abiding customers. Most customershave an interest in avoiding price rises by retailers to cover losses from gasoline drive-offs. They also can offer insights into merchandising practices that would either encourage or discourage them from entering the stores to pay for non-gasoline goods.
The following are some critical questions you should ask in analyzing your local problem of gas drive-offs, even if the answers are not always readily available. Your answers to these and other questions will help you choose the most appropriate set of responses later on.
"Risky facilities" are those few members of a particular group of facilities, in this case either service stations or convenience stores, which account for most of the crimes experienced. Analyzing the reasons for this concentration of crime can yield valuable preventive lessons (see Problem-Solving Tool Guide No. 6, Understanding Risky Facilities, for further information).
Measurement allows you to determine how well your efforts have succeeded and may suggest how to modify your responses if they are not producing the intended results. You should take measures of your problem before you implement responses to determine how serious the problem is and after you implement your responses to determine whether they have been effective. You should take all measures in both the target area and the surrounding area. For more on measuring effectiveness, see the Problem-Solving Tools Guides No. 1, Assessing Responses to Problems: An Introductory Guide for Police Problem-Solvers,and No. 10, Analyzing Crime Displacement and Diffusion.
The following are potentially useful measures of the effectiveness of responses to gas drive-offs. Process measures show the extent to which responses were properly implemented. Outcome measures show the extent to which the responses reduced the level or severity of the problem.
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