The holiday season is usually filled with happiness and celebration, family and fun, but sadly not everyone has the idea of peace-on-earth and good will towards men.
Statistics show that criminal activity increases by about 5 percent during the holiday season. Staff Sgt. Calvin Fann became of victim of this but hopes his experience will help other people be more alert during this time of year.
"I didn't panic when I saw my bag underneath my car, but I knew something wasn't right," said Fann, military intelligence noncommissioned officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). "When I saw that my door was open and my [stereo console] was damaged, I knew that I was robbed. It was a terrible feeling that I hope to never repeat."
Fann immediately called his wife and then called the police. After completing the police report, Fann found out he wasn't the only one who was targeted. Six more people came to the policeman with similar situations.
The amount of people affected by criminal activity during the holiday season doesn't come as a surprise to Lt. Stacey Wilson, who has been a Department of Defense police officer for more than 11 years.
"There is definitely an increased number of identity and material thefts during this time of year because people are going out shopping and traveling, and criminals are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of the situation," said Wilson, shift commander, provost marshal's office, Joint Base Myer - Henderson Hall, Va.
Wilson added that people should take the proper precautions when they are out and about by parking in well-lit areas and being aware of their surroundings at all times. Fann realized this is an important rule to follow as it didn't take much time for his car was to be broken into.
"I thought I was safe because I parked inside of the parking garage," Fann said. "The funny thing is we weren't even away for more than 45 minutes. I tried to park to protect my car from being dented and it ended up being broken into."
Wilson also said these precautions shouldn't just be limited to when people are out in the public. People should take these same precautions at home.
"Always keep your doors and windows locked, and remember, out of sight, out of mind. Keep things secured, especially personal information," said Wilson. "I find that one of the best ways to prevent theft is by possibly asking a neighbor or friend if they can look after your things. The Army calls it the buddy system, and it works."
Fann said he has definitely learned from this experience and will make better choices in the future, and hope other can learn from his experience.
"I didn't care that other people knew about me being robbed, but I do care to try to prevent this from happening to anyone else," said Fann. "Be careful this holiday. Park in areas that could provide some kind of supervision over your property. The fact is that more people are going to try crazy things like this. We can't always stop people from doing these things, but we can certainly deter them."