It’s not entertainment on a slide, a sport on ice or even a small hamburger. Slider crime is much more dangerous and is sweeping the country, particularly in urban cities.
A slider crime is a new form of stealing. No longer do thieves simply target vehicles to steal, but their contents, too. And they are stealing while you may be standing next to your vehicle!
WHAT IS SLIDER CRIME?
A slider crime is a theft of vehicle contents that starts with you being followed by a trail vehicle. It frequently occurs at gas stations. When you pull into a gas pump lane, the trail vehicle pulls into an adjacent lane. After you step out of your vehicle and start watching the gas pump or simply looking around, the thief opens your opposite vehicle door and steals your purse, phone or other valuables. By the time you finish pumping your gas, the thief in the trail vehicle is long gone!
In 2017, 361 of 466 gas stations in the Atlanta area – 78 percent – reported a slider crime, according to the Atlanta Police Department!
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
Slider thieves typically target people driving alone; it’s easier not to get caught! Generally, they steal purses, wallets, laptops, cell phones, notebook computers or anything else of value that can be resold or pawned quickly.
While not typical, slider thieves have been known to steal the vehicle, too. This is particularly dangerous because you could be struck while the thief drives away with your vehicle and whatever – and whoever – may be inside. This is especially frightening if the thief doesn’t realize you have a child in the back seat.
Gas stations are common targets for slider crimes, but they aren’t the only locations. Thieves could strike at supermarkets while victims are returning shopping carts or anywhere else where drivers exit vehicles momentarily. It only takes a few minutes for these thieves to open your vehicle door and ‘slide’ your belongings out the door.
One crime involving a carry-on bag allowed the thief to steal the victim’s purse, wallet, work laptop, cell phone, and e-reader. With the wallet, the thief also got her credit cards and cash as well as her home address and telephone numbers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Do not leave any valuables in view– Place valuables in locked glove boxes, under seats or in the trunk. This includes briefcases, backpacks, purses, small carry-on bags, cash, coins or anything else that may look tempting.
- Take your keys– Whenever you exit your vehicle, take the keys with you and lock the doors.
- Lock the doors – When you are traveling alone and stop to pump gas, lock the car doors, especially those on the opposite side from where you are standing.
- Stay alert – Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Slider crimes literally take only a minute to perpetrate, and thieves are masters at not getting caught. Protect yourself by taking a few preventative steps, so you don’t become a victim of slider crime.
By Peter Dion, The Cincinnati Insurance Company
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.