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Convenience Store Gas Station Crime in Baltimore

Convenience stores and gas stations are more than temporary stops for motorists traveling in and around Baltimore. Unfortunately, they have also become hotspots for criminal activity.

According to the FBI, 4,856 robberies were recorded in Baltimore in 2019.  In contrast, no other Maryland city reported more than 81 robberies in the same year. 

More current figures from the Maryland State Police 2020 report also paint a troubling picture, illustrating a substantial percentage of violent crimes and robberies in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.

Over the years, convenience stores and gas stations have become typical crime scenes for violent offenses such as shootings, stabbings, and homicides. The threat of being victimized by a crime is real for those who work at gas stations and convenience stores. It is an unfortunate reality they must deal with daily. 

Violent Crimes in Baltimore Gas Stations

Crime is a major issue in Baltimore. Unfortunately, gas stations and convenience stores are also places where crimes occur frequently.

What factors drive those trends? Let’s discuss them in detail below.

Easy Access to Illegal Firearms

Firearms play a big role in Baltimore’s violent crimes. Lawmakers have tried to counter that by enacting stricter firearm purchasing requirements. Still, criminals have found a way to get around that.

According to this lengthy feature from Baltimore Magazine, 54% of Maryland gun crimes are by guns from outside the state. Gun traffickers are also bringing more firearms into Maryland. The same feature notes that traffickers smuggle three times as many guns into Maryland as the national average.

Individuals inclined to commit crimes do not have much trouble getting weapons. Unfortunately, that does not bode well for the convenience store clerks and gas station attendants trying to do their jobs.

Lack of Employment Opportunities

Unemployment is another factor we must look at while trying to understand why Baltimore has more crime. Statistics provided by the state of Maryland indicate that the unemployment rate for Baltimore stood at 7.6% as of 2021. To put that number into better context, the current unemployment rate for Maryland as a whole is 2.9%, and its 3.6% for the rest of the country.

It is worth noting that unemployment is also a major issue in Somerset and Worcester Counties. However, the high unemployment rate combined with Baltimore’s high population density could explain why crime is more prevalent there.

Negligent Security at Convenience Stores and Gas Stations

Thus far, we have focused on the more significant issues driving up Baltimore’s crime rates. But, beyond them, there are other factors we must discuss to understand why those establishments have been victimized so often.

We need to take a closer look at the type of security these establishments have. Convenience stores and gas stations must be protected by security guards and monitored by security cameras at all times. Those deterrents should always be in place, so potential criminals think twice about what they are about to do.

Improving lighting can also make a big difference. Parking lots, in particular, should be adequately illuminated to prevent criminals from sneaking up on their victims.

If you were robbed or attacked while on the premises of a convenience store or a gas station, do not dismiss the possibility that the incident you were involved in was due to negligent security. Hire a lawyer who can investigate your case so they can prove that the owner of the convenience store or gas station was being negligent. After gathering enough evidence, you can move forward with a lawsuit and demand fair compensation for what happened.

Poor Site Planning

Poor planning can also make certain convenience stores and gas stations more susceptible to criminal activity. That is because criminals can take advantage of their design. 

For example, a gas station may have one or two pumps that the employees do not see easily from their usual spots. Because of that, criminals can wait for unsuspecting people to use those pumps and pounce. By the time a gas station employee spots the crime, the criminal may already be on the run.

A lack of pass-through windows for late-night sales can also increase criminal activity. If nefarious individuals have an easy way to get to clerks and attendants, they are more likely to commit crimes.

Non-Existent Cash Control Policies for Registers

Lastly, criminals target convenience stores and gas stations because they often carry a lot of money. That is often the case if the owner of the establishment does not have a cash control policy in place.

Until convenience store and gas station owners realize that they are putting their employees at risk by neglecting cash control policies, the crimes will continue.

Baltimore City Council Proposes Resolution

You cannot ignore the dire situation in Baltimore City. But thankfully, we are starting to see some officials take action to address the rampant criminal activity throughout the city.

Earlier this year, Baltimore City Councilman Robert Stokes introduced a resolution having to do with Baltimore security guard legislation that opened discussions with city officials regarding the crimes affecting convenience stores and gas stations. According to this report from WMAR-2 Baltimore, the resolution also aims to put forth solutions that will protect those commercial establishments better from criminals.

For now, Baltimore residents will need to wait and see what effects the resolution will have on criminal activity throughout the city.

How to Prevent Convenience Store and Gas Station Crimes

Some Baltimore officials are already taking steps to help curb the rise of convenience store and gas station crimes. However, we can also do more to keep ourselves safe. Check out the crime prevention tips detailed in this section of the article and keep them in mind whenever you head to a convenience store or gas station.

Choose Your Convenience Stores and Gas Stations Carefully

Suppose you have been living in Baltimore for a while. In that case, you probably know which convenience stores and gas stations are often targeted by criminals. Do your best to avoid those establishments and only use them in emergencies.

Those new to Baltimore should use gas stations and convenience stores near police stations. At the very least, try to look for one with many customers before stopping your vehicle.

Do not Leave Your Car Open or Running

You can also deter potential criminals by paying attention to your vehicle. Remember to shut it down and lock it whenever you step out of your vehicle. Do not worry about the extra minute you will spend getting your car back in gear. That is a small price to pay for keeping your belongings safe.

Avoid Using Your Smartphone while at Convenience Store or Gas Station

Last but not least, do not allow yourself to get distracted while you are at a convenience store or a gas station. Keep your smartphone in your pocket while doing business at either of those locations. Paying close attention to your surroundings can prevent you from getting victimized.

Maryland Negligent Security Lawyer

Attorney John Leppler specializes in negligent security cases. Turn to him for assistance if you recently sustained injuries or incurred losses following an encounter with a criminal at a convenience store or gas station. Entrust your case to John and let him pursue compensation on your behalf. Get in touch with Leppler Injury Law today and tell us more about your case.