The 3rd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade regularly educates to their Soldiers on the importance of ensuring their barracks and their vehicles are properly secured to mitigate potential property loss from theft.
“Since Jan. 1 of this year there have been more than 167 thefts of either private or government property,” said Staff Sgt. David Beaton, a provost sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 3IDSB.
More than 130 of the thefts were unsecured and unattended, meaning some¬body did not lock something up, Beaton said, noting at least 50 of the cases had gaming systems or televisions that were stolen as well as a large amount of TA-50.
To prevent items from being stolen, Soldiers must ensure that their barracks room door, and windows for first floor residents, are secured at all times when left unattended.
“You should always lock your doors and make sure your belongings are secured,” Beaton said. “I know a lot of Soldiers think it’s easier to just leave their door unlocked that way they can just come home and open the handle, but just because it makes it easier doesn’t make it safer.”
An Army physical security regulation was put in place to prevent property loss in barracks room as well as privately owned vehicles.
“Army Regulation 190-51, section 3-14, states that organizational clothing and individual equipment will not be stored in privately owned vehicles,” Beaton said. “Individual clothing and equipment of personnel living in troop billets and reserve component personnel will be secured either in a locked wall locker or footlocker or in a locked duffel bag, further secured to the building structure, or a separate locked room.”
Another way to mitigate property loss is by filling out a high-value item list.
“Anything over a few hundred dollars is a high-value item,” Beaton said. “A PlayStation 4, an Xbox and TV all have serial numbers on them just like government equipment. So, you take that serial number and you put in on the high value-items inventory list and that gets put in through the chain of command.”
In an event there was signs of forced entry and high-value items are stolen, the high-value inventory sheet can be taken to the police station.
“The PMO can generate a police report and put the serial numbers into the Georgia system so if anyone tries to take the system somewhere to sell it would pop up and the person would be arrested,” Beaton said.
Leaders with 3IDSB apply an added measure to enforce the standard by ensuring they are regularly checking their Soldiers’ barracks rooms.
“I do barracks checks once every other week to make sure the Soldier’s quality of life is good,” said Sgt. 1st class Bryan Bigley, an Information Technology Supervisor with HHC, STB, 3IDSB. “I check for things they may not be looking for as well as ensuring their belongings are secured and their doors are locking.”
A way leaders can get their Soldiers to understand the importance of properly securing their gear is by ensuring that they know how to properly secure their equipment in accordance with the regulations and local installation policy.
“I make sure my Soldiers understand the importance of securing their things by having conversation with them like when I come into a room for room inspection and they have a lock and it’s not locked,” Bigley said. “I just let them know that when they are not there for the day who do they think is watching their stuff for them. You are signed for the stuff you are responsible for it.”
The responsibility for property loss is on the individual, but a shared responsibility with engaged leadership is also important in the accountability process.
“We teach Soldiers accountability for their military equipment and it is also important for us to teach them to secure and account for their personal equipment the same way,” Beaton said. “I think that by providing the Soldiers with that information as well as ensuring that leaders are involved in checking the Soldier’s living areas will go a long way to mitigate property loss.”