RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
While living in Germany, individuals have direct access to travel to many different countries and enjoy the vast cultures of the world. Imagine going on vacation and coming home to the realization that your house was raided, personal possessions are gone, and your sense of security is lost.
Vehicle theft and burglaries not only affect the individuals involved, they impact the Air Force mission by diminishing morale and taking time away from the work place.
The 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron has consolidated data from 2013 to the present, which shows the trends of theft frequency. Specifically during this time of the year, the rate of thefts rise from November to December.
This time of the year is about giving and being thankful. For many children, running down the stairs on a cold December morning to unwrap gifts can be a memorable event. What if this year, instead of it being about giving, someone decided it was about taking those gifts?
Though there are months throughout the year that show more reported thefts, more importantly, it’s about crimes of opportunity, said Staff Sgt. Brian Garcia, 569th USFPS NCO in charge of reports and analysis.
“We should always be taking measures to keep ourselves and our belongings safe,” said Garcia. “There is an increase of theft during the holidays, but that doesn’t take away from the importance of security year-round.”
Master Sgt. Thomas Seamans, 569th USFPS NCO in charge of plans and programs, said there are steps which can be taken to help prevent becoming part of the statistic.
“In Germany, most residential front doors automatically lock when they’re closed,” he said. “Some people may not realize the importance of double locking their doors. Putting the key in and physically locking the door works as a deadbolt and provides an extra level of security. Another thing we can’t stress enough is not leaving valuables in plain sight whether that’s in your house or vehicle.”
While away from home, setting house lights on a timer, asking a neighbor to shovel the snow in the driveway, and preventing mail from piling up are other ways to help deter perpetrators.
Frequency of unsecured vehicle break-ins has increased, versus secured vehicles. Locking all doors and keeping all windows closed are just two steps that can be taken to help prevent members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community from becoming victims of vehicle theft.
Maybe this year is the time to get that new family car or convertible you’ve been saving up for. Don’t leave any visible valuables and keep those doors locked to decrease the likelihood of becoming a subject of interest.
Seamans said that though Americans are not specifically being targeted, it does take time and money away from the mission and the individuals. By implementing preventative methods beforehand, military members and their families can enjoy the holiday season with one less stressor.
To report suspicious activity, call the 569th USFPS law enforcement office at DSN 489-6060 or 0631-536-6060. To report a theft or burglary, call 112.