WIESBADEN, Germany - Crime is not a big problem in the U.S. military community housing areas, but it is important to avoid complacency and to make sure items are secured.
"You have to constantly ask yourself, 'Am I a threat to my own security? Or my neighbors' security?'" said Sgt. 1st Class Rolando DeLeon, a Military Police officer with the garrison's Directorate of Emergency Services.
That means not leaving a GPS in the windshield - even after a long, exhausting trip - and making sure that the front doors in stairwell housing are shut and locked, DeLeon said.
Most thefts occur when items are left in plain view inside vehicles or, in the case of bicycles, outside, unsecured on the lawn, said William Trabucco, the garrison's deputy director of emergency services.
There is not a lot of crime in the housing areas, Trabucco said, and the Polizei have the same kinds of problems off post in Wiesbaden. "It's not unique to the housing areas," he said. "All the surrounding areas have the same issues."
Some residents are used to living in an enclosed, on-post environment where crime is even less common, DeLeon said.
This causes some people to be less diligent about locking doors and securing items than they should be, DeLeon said.
Thefts and other problems do occur.
For example, recently there have been problems with door-to-door solicitors entering buildings because of unlocked front doors, Trabucco said.
DeLeon said one way housing residents can help prevent crime in a building is to make sure they are on good, friendly terms with their neighbors.
People are more likely to look out for one another and notice if something is amiss if they know their neighbors, DeLeon said.
DeLeon offered these tips as well:
F Put up curtains, which will keep thieves from seeing what is inside your home. They are available at the Treasure Trove Thrift Store and the Home Décor store, both at Mainz-Kastel Storage Station, as well as any number of stores on the economy.
F Wipe off the suction-cup ring from your GPS when you remove it from your windshield. The ring can tip off a thief that a GPS might be in the vehicle.
F Do not attach chains to bicycle and motorcycle tires, but to the frame. Also, make sure they are chained to something secure.