The City of Hammond Common Council, with the support of Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr., will introduce and consider an ordinance that would close gas stations during the early morning hours. The ordinance would mandate the closure of any gas station in city limits between Midnight and 5:00 a.m. The ordinance would affect most of the 37 gas stations in the city, however, some gas stations already close prior to midnight and those agreements with the city would remain in effect.
“We have seen over the last several years violent criminal acts, often involving firearms, occurring at gas stations late and night and in the early morning hours. My job as mayor is to ensure the public’s safety and this ordinance removes a place where, unfortunately, violent incidents continue to take place. I can’t sit back and see innocent people become victims of violent crime. I fully support the Council’s efforts to put these restrictions in place and if passed, I will sign this ordinance into law,” said Mayor McDermott.
Late last month a homicide took place at approximately 2:00 a.m. at a gas station involving a firearm. The victim died at a hospital in Chicago. “This was just the latest violent crime that took place at a gas station. Our gas stations are frequented by people who come into the city from Illinois for cheaper gas, cigarettes, and other items, and in this instance a person was killed in our city while patronizing a gas station late at night. Cross border crime continues to be one of our greatest police challenges. Gas stations have become too frequent of a place late at night where crimes occur,” said the mayor.
The ordinance indicates that violent crimes have occurred late at night at gas stations including car jackings, robberies, batteries, shots fired, criminal recklessness and homicide. The ordinance does allow a gas station to petition the Board of Public Works and Safety for an exception to the Midnight to 5:00 a.m. closure rule. The City Council will meet at City Hall at 6:00 p.m. on Monday July 10th to consider the ordinance.