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News | Oct. 21, 2015

Crime Prevention Month campaign focuses on fraud, theft in the workplace

By Amanda Neumann DLA Public Affairs

October is Crime Prevention Month and security officials in Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support are encouraging employees to help the agency combat crime, including theft and fraud, in the workplace.

According to the DLA Police Records Management System, the most common type of workplace crime is the petty theft of materials and goods such as office equipment and personal items.

Employees can mitigate theft risks by locking up personal items such as purses, wallets and cell phones, and ensuring workspaces are secure at the end of the workday, said Jerry Barb, a physical security specialist for DLA Installation Support, Security and Emergency Services.

Employees should be alert and report suspicious activities and situations to local authorities as soon as possible. These include:

-- Individuals loitering at or near government building entrances.

-- Personal vehicles left in no parking zones or in loading zones of buildings and warehouses.

-- People dressed inappropriately for the weather, such as wearing a heavy or long coat in hot weather, or those carrying full or bulky bags out of the building.

-- Individuals in secure areas during non-duty hours or in areas where they are not supposed to be.

-- Secure doors that are propped open and unattended.

If something seems strange or out of the ordinary, the first step employees should take is to report it to their supervisor, DLA Police or local law enforcement, said Lynzee Cranford, a DLA Installation Support physical security specialist for DLA Distribution in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Tips from coworkers helped lead to the arrest of two DLA employees who were stealing at Cranford’s facility. The coworkers had noticed strange behavior and secure doors that were purposely being left unlocked.

“What we’ve noticed is that no one is comfortable reporting their coworkers,” Cranford said. “They don’t want to be the whistleblower; they don’t want to provide information; they just want to pretend like it didn’t happen. But we encourage employees, even if you’re not sure, to say something. We will take it seriously and we’ll look into it.”

Although there are protections for whistleblowers, if an employee notices something but wants to remain unnamed, the DLA Enterprise Hotline accepts anonymous submissions, said Michelle Jordan, assistant deputy inspector general, investigations division, for the DLA Office of the Inspector General.

More than 150 complaints have been received by the hotline since the beginning of the year, some of which have resulted in the more than 50 theft and fraud investigations opened in 2015.

Although DLA’s OIG and physical security offices have proactive measures in place to help prevent crime, the keen eyes of the workforce are the agency’s most useful assets, Barb said.

“Hopefully these examples will make everyone a little more aware,” he said. “The biggest thing is to report any type of suspicious activity, because that’s really what is going to help us catch it.”

Additional information:

-- National Crime Prevention Council

-- iWatch DLA