Beware: There are thieves amongst us

by Airman 1st Class Donovan S. Garrett
569th USFPS Police Services

One … two … thieves are coming for you! Three … four… better lock your doors! While this is a twist on the old song, it rings true to the state we are in currently.

Winter months bring shorter days and longer nights, which increases a thief’s ideal working environment ― darkness. There has been a 66 percent increase in house break-ins and a 70 percent increase in vehicle break-ins since Dec. 1. To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of these crimes, follow these basic security tips for your home and automobile.

Whether you live on or off base, your home should comply with basic security standards. All external doors and ground floor windows must have proper locks suitable for the type of frame. Any other window or point of entry that is accessible, such as those above flat roofs, should also be secure. For ventilation purposes, open your windows while you are home and properly secure them prior to your departure. While leaving rollladens down on your windows provide extra security, they can also tell a potential thief that you’re not home. 

Lighting is very important both inside your house and out. It is essential that you give the impression that someone is home. Use light timers for table lamps for inside and sensor lighting for your exterior. Ensure exterior doors and ground floor windows are properly illuminated from the outside. A thief will not try to break into your house with a spotlight shining on them.

Most thieves break into vehicles to steal the contents left by the owner, not the vehicle itself. You can simply avoid this by removing all valuables from your vehicle when it’s parked. If you choose to store your laptop, iPod, GPS, wallet and rent money in your vehicle, chances are it will be stolen. Also, the most popular items taken from vehicles over the past two months have been purses and backpacks. Another simple tip is to always keep your car locked and leave valuables at home. The vast majority of vehicle break-ins investigated reveal there were no signs of forced entry, which means the vehicle was unlocked.

Bottom line: Secure your home, vehicle and valuables. Thieves are lurking around trying to find the next place to “shop.” To report a theft, call the Security Forces Base Defense Operations Center at 0631-536-6060/7070 or 1-1-2.

If you have any general crime prevention questions, call the 569th USFPS Police Services at 489-7501 or 0631-536-7501.