The Importance of Reporting

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristina Overton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
In a recent Airman's Council meeting with the wing commander and command chief present, one of the Air Force Global Strike Command Airman here stood up and said he thought we should have security cameras installed in the dormitory parking lots. Apparently, there had been several incidents where cars had been vandalized or items had been stolen from the vehicles, so he thought it best to take some sort of action in preventing future occurrences.

The complaint was not taken lightly. The next week an e-mail was circulated throughout the installation asking Airmen if they'd had any incidents within the last six months. The reason the e-mail had to be sent is because the Central Dorm Management Office only had one occurrence that was actually reported.

One report.

To aid CDMO with their research, the Airman's Council sent out a similar e-mail with a point-of-contact to try and get accountability of how many Airmen were affected by issues in the dorm parking lots. Within a week's time, more than 15 reports came back.

Fifteen reports.

If there is one thing I know from my experience with the Air Force, it's the significance of numbers. When it comes to improving things, the first thing they do is look at the statistics behind it. Who will benefit from the change? Who is presently affected? What is the big picture? If our strength to invoke change is in numbers, I seriously doubt that the report of one incident in the dorm parking lot is going to tear down walls, much less urge the wing to purchase security cameras that it doesn't "look" like we need.

So how do we improve this situation? We improve it by simply reporting.

I discussed this matter with the law enforcement NCOIC, and he said the biggest problem they have is that Airmen wait 30, 60 and sometimes even 90 days to report. If they wait that long, there is no evidence for law enforcement to go off of for their investigations. In addition, AFI 31-204 actually requires us to immediately notify law enforcement for any kind of vehicle damage or traffic accident.

Much like the rest of the Air Force, patrolmen also base their routes on statistics. Police patrols, patrolling through the dorm parking lots and certain places in housing, are based on the reports they get. If they don't know where violations are occurring, they continue to put their resources in places where they know things are potentially happening.

Reporting isn't just about trying to get compensation for lost items, or trying to get insurance to cover whatever damage may have been done. It's about ensuring the safety of our wingmen. By reporting, we're building a foundation to hinder occurrences from happening to others. We're building up numbers that could potentially improve our quality of life here on the installation.

It is always good to make sure you're keeping your vehicle doors locked and that you're not leaving valuables visible in your vehicle. If you go on leave, ensure a reliable Airman is checking on your vehicle so your belongings are secure. And most of all, in the event of any type of incident, remember the importance of reporting.