Opportunity makes thieves

by Gina Hutchins-Inman
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Photo by Audio und werbung/Shutterstock.com

The dark time of the year has come, days are getting shorter, and darkness sets in earlier.
According to the German Polizei, it is also prime time for burglars and thieves.
According to the Polizei, about 50 percent of burglaries occur between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Most burglars will readily give up if they can’t get into the house within three to five minutes and often work with simple tools such as screw drivers or wrenches.
The German Polizei has started a campaign against burglary and theft and would like to share a few important tips to ensure that you and your family remain safe, and take appropriate measures to safeguard your home and belongings.

Do you know your neighbors?
Police experience has shown that observant neighbors can help in avoiding criminal offenses such as burglaries. If you don’t know your neighbors, politely greet them with a friendly “Guten Tag” on the street or invite them to a cup of coffee or hot chocolate across the fence to get to know them a bit. Just recently in Kaiserslautern, an attentive neighbor observed two suspicious characters at the house across the street, called the Polizei and the culprits were caught on scene. In addition, let your neighbors know that you are on a TDY or on vacation and ask them to keep an eye on the house during your absence.

Opportunity makes thieves
Do not even give burglars a chance. Do not deposit any keys in outdoor places, such as under the door mat, under flowerpots or in wall crevices. If possible, let down your rolladen during longer periods of absence, in particular at the back of the house where intruders may remain undiscovered and out of sight.
Burglars always come at night?
Incorrect thinking – burglars often come during the day. They will scout around the neighborhood and wait for residents to go to school, work or out to shopping. Based on early darkness this time of the year, they are very active during dusk because they are more difficult to spot and not that many people are out on the streets.

Are your windows and your doors safely secured? Have you thought about your basement windows?
Tilted windows are basically open windows and hardly an obstacle for an intruder. Make sure to always properly close windows during your absence. Many modern windows or balcony doors are equipped with separate locks. In addition, turn your house door key two or three times to make sure that the locks are properly anchored in the frame. It is easy to pry open a door if it only falls in place unlocked.

What to do if you spot a burglar in the act?
Retreat to a safe place, immediately dial 1-1-0 and wait for police instructions. Do not attempt to approach or stop the intruder, as this may lead to aggression, and you could endanger yourself. Try to remember as many details as possible, such as how many persons, their appearance (height, hair color, figure and complexion), which language are they speaking, whether they have a car or vehicle and possibly the plate number.

You come home and discover that someone has broken in?
Immediately call police, do not touch anything, and file a police report for possible insurance matters.
Be vigilant, turn your home into your personal “Fort Knox” and protect your neighbors as well.
In emergencies dial 1-1-0 or DSN 489-6060 (civilian 0631-536-6060)