Gas thefts a local and national problem

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 9, 2002

Each week there are several reports of gasoline theft in Greenville. Sometimes the thefts can be contributed to forgetfulness and individuals simply being hurried but many times, individuals are actually trying to get away with not paying for gas.

A new law brings the penalty of driver's license suspension, but only after two convictions of gas theft. This law is an attempt to lower the occurrences of gas drive-offs, but the problem is still prominent all over the nation.

This crime may not seem all that serious, but this is one reason gas prices are high and everyone ends up paying for others' crimes. When an individual steals gas due to high gas prices, they should consider that it is partly their fault the prices are so high.

If a person is caught, usually they are only made to go back and pay for the gas, so what good is this doing to help the problem?

A slap on the wrist gives the idea that the crime is not that big a deal and people may feel they can get away with gas theft. Station owners should consider this and consider pressing charges against offenders.

If arrests are made, there is a good chance people will begin to respect the law more and the crime rate is more likely to decrease.

This is the case with all crimes. Several times victims are afraid of pressing charges against criminals and offenders get away with crimes. This gives people the idea that they may be able to get away with these offenses, and the crime rate increases.

Such is the case with sexual crimes in which victims feel they do not have a case against the offender and they feel it will simply worsen the situation. If victims will begin to stand up for themselves, the crime rate will most likely decrease because people will begin to have more respect for the law.

When criminals are not prosecuted, society suffers due to their actions. With theft, each time an incident occurs, the consumer ends up paying for the crime when product prices rise.

So, next time you consider driving away from a gas station without paying, remember that it will have a fairly big effect on gas prices and there is always the chance you will be caught.