Story and photos by Nadine Bower
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden community members are reminded that personal security can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Staying safe is important on and off post. According to the crime prevention website of the German police, www.polizei-beratung.de, most break-ins are not done by professionals, but by people who use easy ways to take advantage of unsecured homes.
However, the website also claims that many break-ins can be prevented by correct behavior and efficient home security.
Head of the criminal police advisory center and urban crime prevention of the Police Presidium Westhessen, PHK Frank Anders, explains that many criminals take advantage of opportunities such as partially open window, unlocked doors or the absence of residents. “Security locks and correct behavior, such as locking windows and doors, contribute significantly to the fact that every second burglary is prevented nowadays,” he said. “Most break-ins take place during the day or in the early evening, when the residents are not at home.”Main doors in buildings with multiples apartments can be a security concern as well. Anders explains that these doors are often simply closed, but not locked at night, and can be opened silently with a simple tool. “We recommend using a self-closing plug-in lock,” said Anders.
Additionally, establishing good relationships with neighbors can prevent crime, Anders said. Knowing who lives in the area can help identify strangers. However, while not every stranger is a potential criminal, it is helpful to check with neighbors if one notices a suspicious person.
USAG Wiesbaden Directorate of Emergency Services, Chief of Police, Jason Kesselring explains that in an emergency on post, the Military Police should be called at DSN 110 or 0611-143-584-0110 from a cell phone. For any other non-emergency issues on post, call DSN 548-7778/77 or 0611-143-548-7778/77.
“Off post in Aukamm or Crestview, we request German Police are called first at 110, as we have no jurisdiction over German citizens,” Kesselring said. “After that, notify the Military Police at 0611-143-584-0110 for emergencies or 0611-143-548-7778/77 for non-emergencies.”
Kesselring also points out that the MPs have an active patrol in the area for Force Protection. “However due to jurisdictional causes, German Police should be requested first to expedite response. Most of the German Police can speak English,” Kesselring said. He highlights that it is important to provide detailed descriptions of suspicious individuals or vehicles, including make, model, color and license plate.
Additionally, Anders adds that residents in the Aukamm and Crestview housing areas can also contact the 4th precinct of the Wiesbaden Police Directorate if they have any questions or concerns at 0611-345-2440. “We are always grateful for information from the public,” Anders said.
Here is a list of other helpful tips from Anders and the German Polizei to make your home more secure:
- Always close all windows and doors when leaving the house (use safety locks)
- Always lock main doors at night (remember: a closed door is not a locked door)
- Never hide your house key outside. Burglars find every hiding place
- If you lose your key, change the locking cylinder or check with your landlord right away
- Empty the mailbox daily (if applicable) or ask a neighbor to empty it when not at home for a longer period of time
- Simulate being home with lights on or by using automated lights
- If you notice that a stranger is looking for something in your neighborhood or your apartment building, talk to them by asking “Can I help you?”, this signals to them that somebody is paying attention to what is happening in the neighborhood
- Do not give any indication of your absence, such as on social media or on your answering machine
- Install safety locks on all windows and doors
- ‘Rolladens’ should be closed at night time, and if possible be open during the day. This signals your presence and may deter burglars
- Do not open your door to just anybody. Instead, show a healthy distrust towards strangers
- Make sure that basement doors are always locked in apartment buildings
For any questions, can contact the MP helpdesk at 0611-143-548-7778/77.