Theft is prominent all year-round, and it’s important to secure homes and vehicles whether traveling or staying in the local area.
Thieves tend to look for “easy targets.” Easy targets include unlocked car doors, open windows and doors that are not locked with a deadbolt.
Most commonly in the colder months, motorcycles and street bikes are stolen. This may be because they are ridden more in the warmer months and are left in one area during colder weather. To prevent these vehicles from being stolen, there are many precautionary measures to take.
“For motorcycles, I see a lot of common ways they’re stored,” said Master Sgt. Duane Stinson, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron superintendent of plans and programs. “If the handlebars are turned all the way to the side and you lock the lock on the ignition, it secures them in place, and the wheels won’t roll straight. That’s a safety feature from the manufacturer. That usually doesn’t stop a thief. What they’re doing is taking two or three people and picking it up. Even ones I’ve seen that are chained, the chains are being cut, so that’s not effective either. The best advice I can give is to store them in garages or sheds to where it’s not in plain sight.”
The most commonly stolen item year-round may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Reading the blotter, electronics and wallets may be typical, easy-to-take items, but automobile thefts have been making their way up the charts.
“Trending in theft right now are automobiles,” Stinson said. “What we noticed with vehicle theft is targets of opportunity. They tend to be in conjunction with house break-ins. Lots of people hang their keys right inside the door so they’re easily accessible. If the door isn’t double locked and it’s easy access for a break-in, they’re popping the lock, there’s the keys, after they’re done in the house they jump in the car and drive off.”
During extended periods away from home, it’s best to establish a rapport with the landlord and neighbors.
“When going on vacation, it’s good to have those people to watch over the house and even take the mail in so the house doesn’t look empty,” said Staff Sgt. Joel Reyes, 569th USFPS police services.
On a daily basis, whether at home or away, one of the best ways to avoid theft is to simply keep doors and windows correctly locked.
“Nine times out of 10, the violations we encounter were unsecured houses and vehicles,” Reyes said. “Very rarely do we get calls where everything was locked up. We stress the importance of keeping windows and doors locked when a house is unoccupied.
“The (Base Exchange) has some security things for houses. They have window and door alarms, as well as timers for lights,” he continued. “Giving the impression someone is home will help deter a criminal from breaking in.”
To report suspicious behavior, 112 is the Germany-wide emergency contact number, or call 110 from DSN phones on Army Kasernes. You may also contact security forces on Ramstein at 06371-47-2050 or on Vogelweh, other KMC bases or off-base with a German speaker at 0631-536-6060.
AFOSI has a 24 hour tip-line available: 0171-745-5382 or www.osi.af.mil.
For more information and to view the latest KMC Force Protection or Crime Prevention topics or to post questions or concerns on the Neighborhood Watch Facebook page, visit www.facebook.com/kmcneighborhoodwatch.