Car Wash Confidential: Crime in Public
When we think about crime, you think about dark alleys and strangers lurking in the darkness. We think of domestic violence and drug abuse as something that happens behind closed doors.
But in reality, crime is more likely to happen during the day. The peak time for juveniles to commit crimes is 2 pm. For adults, it’s between 7 and 8 pm.
One hot spot for criminal activity you probably haven’t considered — car washes.
The topic came up during an SCDN interview with a convicted human trafficker.
He casually mentioned car washes as prime spots for prostitution during the course of the interview. Honestly, I listened to the interview several times before that bit of information sank in.
I decided to do some investigating. Is a car wash really a great place to commit a crime?
We took our SCDN surveillance vehicle to a local car wash. It was a bright, sunny day. The car wash has several employees. There was even a police car parked at the vacuum station.
Once the attendant got us settled, we were alone and hidden from everyone there for several minutes. Plenty of time to shoot up, sell drugs, or even perform a sex act. The officer was still parked at the vacuum station when we came out. It was sure cheaper than getting a motel room.
Right now, you’re probably asking, “What about the surveillance cameras?”
Car washes and other businesses seem to have cameras everywhere. Wouldn’t that deter crime? The fact is, most security cameras aren’t monitored.
Human Trafficking Expert Rhiannon Gill says, “Once the wash begins, the camera is rendered useless.” She also said that by the time anyone realizes a crime has been committed, the security footage is probably already gone. “Most businesses of that nature only keep the footage for a very short time.”
Think a car wash isn’t enough time to perform a sex act? You may have a better sex life than the average couple. According to a national study, the average amount of time for a sex act is about 5 minutes but sometimes as little at 90 seconds or less.
We tried again at a second car wash at the busiest intersection in Scioto County. This time a self-serve car wash.
We pulled into a wash bay. None of the cars that drove by even looked in our direction.
Green says criminals count on this. “In our busy world, many people don’t pay attention to surroundings. We’re usually paying attention to cell phones or children. That makes it easy to conduct illegal business transactions in the wide open.”
She said dealers use businesses like car washes because of their central locations and because they’re easy to reach either on foot or in a car. It’s easy to look out for law enforcement but provides enough cover for criminal activity.
Thirty minutes is time to manufacture drugs, beat the daylights out of your partner, or commit any number of crimes.
Crime in Public