Traditionally, Air Force bases have been relatively free of most serious crimes against persons or property. However, in recent years, these types of crimes have become more common on military installations.
Losses of government and private property to theft and vandalism are mounting. Commissaries, base exchanges, and other retail stores are experiencing increase in shoplifting and pilferage.
The Air Force Crime Prevention Program is a 24 hour-a-day operation designed to eliminate or minimize the opportunity and desire to engage in criminal activities. Crime prevention is a total interface of commanders, staff personnel, officers, noncommissioned officers, Airmen, civilian employees and dependents.
Citizens must become aware of their community’s crime problems and work collectively to suppress crime. Equally important, they must comprehensively understand that no matter how efficient a police department is, it cannot protect the community if the community does not employ its own mitigating measures to protect itself.
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Police departments exercise progressive community policing initiatives, active programs of public education and outreach programs in order to gain the support and cooperation of the community.
OPERATION CRIME STOP
One important key to successful crime prevention is the prompt and accurate reporting of imminent crime situations or malicious acts. Operation Crime Stop was developed to overcome the reluctance of individuals to “get involved” with police investigations. It recognizes that some individuals will report their observations to police only when they know they can remain anonymous.
Anonymous crime reports can be domestic violence, suspicious activity, threatening acts or behavior, possession of weapons and or the use or sale of illegal drugs, according to the Crime Stop Air Force Instruction 31-201.
The Security Forces Crime Stop telephone number—256-1160—gives citizens the opportunity to contact Security Forces immediately. There are many additional benefits to calling the Security Forces Crime Stop line opposed to the routine number.
First, Crime Stop is a priority number. When it rings at the law enforcement desk, everything else goes on hold, much like calling 911. Second, all Crime Stop calls are investigated immediately as to provide expeditious resolution.
Responding to a Crime Stop call is of top priority for responding patrols. Finally, the most crucial aspect of Operation Crime Stop is the fact a caller may remain anonymous. Security Forces encourages citizens to call the Crime Stop number if they wish to report a crime and remain left out of any resulting official reports.
‘TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF THEFT’ OPERATION IDENTIFICATION
Police data has reflected larceny and burglary to be two of the most rapidly growing crimes against people. These are crimes in which few, if any evidentiary clues are left for discovery. In such instances, the police can do little more than follow the clues afforded to them via the ensuing investigation. Individual or community actions can significantly reduce the occurrence of larceny and burglary by working to prevent, deter, or detect such criminal acts.
Operation Identification, an appendage to the National Neighborhood Watch Institute, is a crime resistance technique which can be effectively employed by individuals to deter burglaries and larcenies while providing investigative leads that will increase the likelihood of solving the crime.
Stolen property marked for identification is much harder for the common criminal to sell for profit. Most pawn shops and many professional fences will not buy marked property. If, however, the thief can find a buyer for the stolen property, he/she will receive considerably less money for the item(s). Furthermore, prosecution is enhanced when property can be traced back to a specific owner.
Many times, stolen property is recovered by police officials months after it was stolen and often long distances from its place of origin. If stolen property is not properly marked, the recovering police agency will simply store said property, eventually selling at auction if no one claims ownership. Engraving the proper owner identification number on the property is good practice to follow.
Military members can mark their property with the letters AF followed by four to six digits of their choosing. Some military members use the last four of their social security number, phone number, driver’s license number or birth date; however the discretion is entirely up to the individual.
CRIME PREVENTION TIPS
Criminologists tell us the number of crimes committed is in proportion to a criminal’s belief that the crime can be successfully carried out. Certain conditions are known to make us more vulnerable to crime. These conditions are referred to as “crime hazards.”
▪ Unsecure family quarters, dormitory rooms, buildings, and other types of facilities;
▪ Valuable, unprotected property left vulnerable to theft;
▪ Poor lighting in neighborhoods and around high value property (i.e. vehicles, lawn décor, etc.);
▪ Lack of constructive youth opportunities such as sports programs, employment, recreation, social events, etc.;
▪ Lack of prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against violators;
▪ Lack of effective drug and alcohol abuse prevention efforts;
▪ Citizen apathy in reporting criminal actions; and
▪ Lack of public education on how to contend with, observe, and report crime.
No police department can effectively combat crime without the support of the public that it serves.
Increasing the size of a department will never be effective against the types of crimes that we experience at Scott. Cooperation between security forces and the public is the only way we can reduce crime.
The 375th SFS can be thought of as a tool that the base populace can utilize to combat unwanted criminal activities throughout our neighborhoods and work places.
People should not tolerate criminal activity, even when it doesn’t affect them. When noticing any suspicious activity, report it immediately.
For emergencies, dial 911. For all other issues, the 375th SFS Law Enforcement Desk can be reached at 256-2223/2224 and the 375th SFS Crime Prevention Manager can be reached at 256-3674. For non-emergencies, please contact 256-6000.