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Cops ask for vigilance against on-base thefts

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Living or working on a military installation gives most people a sense of security. Why wouldn't it? There's a fence around the base and guards at the gates.

The sense of security is displayed by motorists who leave their windows down while shopping at the BX or leave their cars running while they grab a drink at the shoppette.

The truth is, when it comes to property crime you could easily become a victim on base as you would off the installation.

Over the past several months, there has been a significant increase in property crime throughout Eglin base housing. Property crime typically refers to the criminal offenses of burglary, housebreaking, larceny/theft and motor vehicle theft in which there is no intent to cause harm or use force on a victim (normally because there isn't a person present).

The majority of crimes targeted property that was left unsecured outside of the home or in plain view in unlocked vehicles.

Items that have been "lifted" have been a laptop, Ipod, GPS, radar detector, an electric razor and other various electronics. Lawnmowers and children's toys have been stolen from yards in base housing.

While the exact cause of the increase of the property crime is unknown, there are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming the next victim.

- Lock the doors to your vehicle and roll up windows.
- Do not leave valuables visible in your vehicle. Lock them in the trunk or place them out of sight. Criminals seldom take the risk to enter a vehicle if there is no obvious reward. Out of sight, out of mind!
- Do not leave items unattended around your house. Put lawn care equipment, tools and children's toys away when not in use.
- Record serial numbers of high dollar items and use an engraving tool to place unique markings on items without serial numbers.

When it comes to protecting your valuables, the best defense is a good offense!

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