Your role in crime prevention

  • Published
  • By Maj. Steven Bauman
  • 341st Security Forces Squadron commander
According to, in 2010, one person in 22 was a victim of property crime in Great Falls. Whether it's larceny, burglary, arson or motor vehicle theft, these acts are all preventable. According to the 341st Security Forces Squadron Reports and Analysis Office, on Malmstrom Air Force Base, one in 129 people were victims of those same crimes.

What is it that makes us five times less susceptible to property crime? Is it the fence around the base? The gate guards? No, it's you. The fence is merely an obnoxious property line that tells "bad guys" when they are officially wrong, and the gate guards you see every day filter people with a legitimate need to be here. Once inside the fence though, you'll find Malmstrom is a cross section of small town America, and the good folks that live here are not much different than where you may have grown up.

The answer to our low property crime rate is you, and together, we can make that number even lower by making criminals feel there is a high likelihood they will be caught. Here are some things you can do to help.

First, know your neighbors and their children. I don't say that because I believe you have to fear your neighbor, but understand they are equal partners in your neighborhood's health. They want a safe and crime-free community just like you. Know who their children are. If you see someone talking to them that you don't recognize, step outside and ask them if everything is OK.

Second, if you see something out of the norm, say something. Be a catalyst and make a
difference in your neighborhood. Step out and let others see you care. There's an old military saying that every time you fail to enforce a standard, you just set a new one. In the crime prevention world it's very similar. Every time you tolerate suspicious behavior, you just allowed that behavior to be more acceptable where you live. That behavior will continue to evolve until good people say something against it. People feed off the confidence of others and will follow suit if they know they are not the only one stepping out.

Lastly, lights and locks. This measure is the easiest of my three recommendations. When it's dark, turn on the lights outside your house and let suspicious activity be seen by anyone who is still awake in your neighborhood. Before you go to bed, lock your doors. Don't let crime be easy; use your lights and locks.

These measures can go a long way in protecting you and your family. In all cases, be safe and use your base police force. Call security forces at the Base Defense Operations Center at 731-3895 or 9-1-1 for emergencies. If you want to talk to the security forces Investigations Section, call 731-4500.

In 2012, they investigated 64 criminal cases and solved all of them, recovering more than $67K in property. If we know about it, we can help. All you have to do is call.