Now is time to be more vigilant in your neighborhoods

by Freddy Munoz
13th Field Investigations Squadron investigator

Spring is here and summer is around the corner. Warm days followed by cool evenings are perfect for being outdoors. On the streets, in the parks and along lakes, KMC members are riding their bikes, inline skating, walking, running or just enjoying the beauty of Germany.

To help you have a safe and enjoyable summer, Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde, 86th Airlift Wing commander, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Joint Force Protection Team hopes you keep the following safety tips in mind.

Secure Your Home
• When you are not at home you should ensure your windows, doors and garages are locked. An open door is an invitation. The use of rollladens is another great tool to secure your home. Never leave your house or apartment unlocked, even if you are just around the corner.
• When someone is at your door, ask to see identification and let them know you are going to call and get verification from their company before allowing them inside. If they are legitimate, they won’t mind the wait.
• Be a good neighbor and alert police to any unusual activity in your neighborhood. If it does not look or feel right, chances are it is not. Call 112 for Polizei Germany-wide.
• Plan for vacation by having your mail and newspapers stopped or having a neighbor pick them up. Also, leave inside lights on timers to create the impression your house is occupied. Be sure to set your alarm system, if available. Have a lawn service or neighbor mow your lawn.


Child Safety
• Require your child to check in with a parent before leaving the house and when returning home. Teach your child there is safety in numbers and it is best to be with a group of friends when going places without an adult.
• Know the route your child will take to and from a given location. Remind your child never to take a shortcut or deviate from the planned route.
• Provide a list of phone numbers of neighbors, family and friends your child can call in an emergency. Make sure your child knows how to dial 112 and when it is appropriate to do so.
• Establish rules for using the Internet. Children should have adult supervision when online. Make sure your child knows to never give out personal information on the Internet.
• Make sure your children know never to talk to strangers. Remind them that a person is a stranger until you say otherwise. Discuss actions for them to take if they are approached by a stranger, such as running to an adult they know or calling the police.
• Your children should be comfortable talking to you about things that happened, they aren’t sure how to handle, or things that made them uncomfortable. Talk to them about who their friends are and what activities they do when away from you.

Secure your belongings
• Secure your bicycles and do not leave them unattended. Also, public storage, such as the building’s bike storage area, does not guarantee your bicycle’s safety. If possible, store it in your personal storage space.
• When you are traveling or just around town and you do not want to carry your valuables, lock your purse, wallet and other belongings in the trunk of your vehicle. Never place your valuables in your car where they can be seen. Leaving valuables in plain site is an invitation for theft.

Secure each other
• A good neighbor can be one of the best crime prevention tools.
Watchful eyes could spot criminals and alert police of their presence. Get to know your neighbors and watch out for each other.
• Attend neighborhood watch meetings and know your neighbors. Involvement such as these builds stronger bonds between neighbors and helps maintain safe neighborhoods.
• Do not be an easy target of scams and deception artists. If anyone comes to your door soliciting, do not allow them in your homes or buy their products. Call the law enforcement desk at 06315-536-6060 and report the solicitors.
Report suspicious behavior
• Anyone can report suspicious behavior. To do so, 112 is the Germany-wide emergency contact number. You may also contact security forces at 06371-47-2050 (Ramstein) or 0631-536-6060 (Vogelweh — with German speaker).
• AFOSI has a 24-hour tip line available. Call 0171-745-5382 or visit www.osi.af.mil.
• Visit the neighborhood watch Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kmcneighborhoodwatch.
• Anyone can view the latest KMC force protection or crime prevention topics or post questions or concerns on the neighborhood watch Facebook page.

Awareness and reporting suspicious behavior are crime prevention keys. By following the above suggestions, you will reduce crime in the community.