People who fill up on gas and drive away without paying — also known as the gas-and-dash — is a crime that can be easily prevented, say Halifax Regional Police.

This year alone, officers have been called an average of three times a day to investigate incidents where people fill up and drive off. Halifax Regional Police say compared to the last few years, this is a good year.

As of Oct. 30, Halifax Regional Police have been called to investigate 1,053 gas-and-dash incidents where people fuelled up.

Theresa Rath, a spokeswoman with Halifax Regional Police, said the numbers are going down but the people who own the gas stations say it could be the incidents are simply not being reported as often.

"This is almost 100 per cent preventable. It does take a lot of police resources to investigate each one," said Rath.

“We would ask that retailers require people to pay before they pump and then we wouldn't have to investigate these offences in the first place."

Retailers say it's difficult to convince every gas station in the province to switch to a pre-pay or a pay-at-the-pump policy — unless it becomes the law and they have no choice.

"I couldn't make it a policy here if the stations in my area don't make the same policy,” said Wayne Pace, who works at an Esso station in Tantallon. “It would be very difficult, the only way I can see it working is to have it legislated."

The owner of an Esso gas station in Fairview supports legislation. He said he gets hit about 10 times per month and sometimes customers simply forget to pay — more often though, it's theft, he said.

Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais has asked the province for pay at the pump legislation.

Year Number of occurrences
Number of gas theft incidents in the Halifax region
2010 1521
2011 1878
2012 1697
2013 1053