This article is from NJ.com and instructs people on why it is so critically important to have high-quality lighting for your gas station, parking lot, or any other kind of business. Check out the article below:
After fatal Woodbury gas station shooting, attendants, industry leaders talk safety
by Joe Green/South Jersey Times
For most, it’s hard to imagine going to work with memories like 22-year-old Raj Singh has.
Singh reports to the Garden State gas station on East Commerce Street in Bridgeton knowing at any time he could be peering — once again — into the barrel of a gun, being told to fork over a chunk of the day’s earnings.
That station, robbed five times in the last year, exemplifies the dangers of being a gas station attendant in New Jersey, especially late at night.
News of robberies at full service stations is nothing new. But the shooting death of 40-year-old attendant Surinder Singh at a Garden State station in Woodbury on Aug. 25 caught the attention of business owners and workers throughout the region.
Several South Jersey attendants and a statewide industry association recently reflected on the dangers and the precautions to be taken.
Surveillance cameras are one such tool. The Bridgeton Garden State has them, but station owner Koldeep Singh has begun to think he needs to install even more lighting than he now has.
“I spent about $3,000 of my own money installing new lights,” said Koldeep, uncle to the attendant, Raj. Nonetheless, late-night darkness and lack of witnesses could still make the station, like many, an inviting target.
Raj remembers one hold-up well.
“Guys in masks came up to me and put a gun to my head and said, ‘Give me all your money,’” he recalled, as if it were any day on the job.
Should Garden State be robbed again, Koldeep doesn’t plan on being a hero. He and his employees plan only on calling the police and hoping for the best.
Guys in masks came up to me and put a gun to my head and said, ‘Give me all your money
“Why lose my life over money?” he quipped simply.
It’s a position Singh Inderjit, who runs the Riggins gas station off Route 49 in Quinton Township, has been in rather recently.
He was robbed at knifepoint on the night of Jan. 9.
“It is scary sometimes,” Inderjit said. “That night, I was closing up and when I turned off the lights, that’s when he came wearing a mask and gloves with a knife in his hand.
“After that, my company had more lights and cameras installed.”
Even with those measures, however, he said he’s extra cautious when closing up at night.
Security cameras, along with signs saying they’re present, can go a long way in making stations safer, according to Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store and Automotive Association (NJGCA).
The NJGCA is a trade association representing gas stations, auto repair businesses, convenience stores, car dealerships and other related industries.
In July 2012, Risalvato, a former station owner himself, published an article in the group’s quarterly publication, “On the Road,” laying out a list of precautions he said station owners can take.
After the Woodbury Garden State fatal shooting, he again listed some of those measures in the NJGCA e-newsletter, “Road Warrior.” They include the following, among others:
- Have a strict policy that attendants do not carry cash after a certain time. Also require all cash purchases to be made with exact cash, which is deposited right away into a safe to which the attendant doesn’t have access.
- Install very obvious signs that say “Attendants do not carry cash,” to help discourage robbers from even trying.
- “Light up your store like Yankee Stadium,” Risalvato recommends. On that front, NJGCA partners with vendor KOPA lighting to help reduce the cost, the director says. Another partner, TMP Energy, can help stations reduce electricity costs.
- Risalvato encourages station owners to think of installing video surveillance. For those, too, he recommends putting up very visible signs telling visitors the cameras are there.
Credit: NJ.com. Joe Green. "After fatal Woodbury gas station shooting, attendants, industry leaders talk safety". Sept. 2, 2013.