There's been a strong correlation between rising gas prices and the number of fuel thefts reported to police in the province in recent months.
The average price for a litre of unleaded fuel at self-serve gas stations in Regina was $130.80 in December, according to Statistics Canada. By mid-May, prices have jumped in Regina and Estevan to over $180 per litre.
The Saskatchewan RCMP said they received 178 reports of fuel being stolen from January to April, which is a 76-per-cent increase from the same time period last year.
Though they aren't able to attribute that to rising prices.
"Obviously, there has been a significant increase in the price of fuel recently," said Monica Deters, Saskatchewan RCMP's acting officer in charge of Crime Reduction and Crime Prevention. "We can't speculate on motives in these thefts but it is important that individuals and businesses be aware they may be occurring more frequently."
137 reports came from gas stations.
"Gas stations may want to implement 'pay before you pump' or other policies to prevent customers from inadvertently or intentionally leaving without paying for fuel," said Deters. "Businesses should also consider if their video surveillance and lighting are sufficient and located in appropriate locations for suspects and their vehicles to be identified in the event of a crime."
The other reports were thefts from farm fuel tanks (10), bulk fuel tanks (12), jerry cans (10), and siphoning or drilling gas tanks (9).
Deters added the following tips to prevent your fuel from being stolen:
- Lock privately-owned fuel tanks and ensure the area they are located is well lit.
- Set up video or photo surveillance in areas where you have a privately-owned fuel tank.
- If possible, park vehicles in a locked garage or outbuilding or park in a well-lit, frequently-travelled location.
- Park with your fuel door facing a frequently-travelled road.
- If possible, don't park in one area, or leave a vehicle unattended to, for an extended period of time.
- If your vehicle has an alarm, activate it when you leave your vehicle unattended.
- Report suspicious activity to police: even if it does not involve your own vehicle, if you see suspicious activity occurring, report it.