Operation Chill® is 7-Eleven® stores’ community relations program designed to reduce crime and enhance relations among 7-Eleven stores, police and youth.
The program allows law enforcement officers to “ticket” youngsters they observe doing good deeds or exhibiting positive behavior. The ticket is actually a coupon good for a free small Slurpee® semi-frozen, carbonated beverage at any participating 7-Eleven store.
Since its inception in 1995, Operation Chill has grown to include almost 1,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada each year, and more than 19 million coupons have been distributed to officers on the beat in cities and towns where 7-Eleven does business. Public information officers at participating law enforcement agencies promote the program and assist 7-Eleven in distributing a news release, which results in positive local print and broadcast media coverage each year. 2017 marks the 22nd anniversary of the program.
The idea for Operation Chill was based on 7-Eleven stores’ own experience and the fact that nationwide, crime increases during the summer months. According to the FBI’s 2015 Uniform Crime Report, the highest percentage of crime occurs in August, with concentrations almost as high in June and July. Also, police officers working with 7-Eleven’s asset protection managers reported that law enforcement wanted to improve its image and relationship with young people. The use of 7-Eleven stores’ proprietary Slurpee beverage as the reward was a natural for the warm-weather program.
In addition to rewarding good behavior by youth, Operation Chill offers opportunities for officers to interface with youngsters in a non-law-enforcement situation, and the program is no longer limited to summer. Some officers use the coupons to reward kids for wearing bicycle helmets, doing good deeds, participating in community activities and organizations, picking up trash, deterring crime or observing school crossing rules. Others use the coupons as icebreakers to establish a rapport with kids in a neighborhood, or as an incentive for participating in school safety programs.
Though the reasons for being “ticketed” may vary, the end result is the same for every youngster: a free Slurpee drink and a smile.