STUTTGART, Germany — The provost marshal for the 6th Area Support Group said people living in military communities should keep watch for suspicious activities as military personnel move in or out, head off on vacation or just leave things in the front yard.

In recent weeks, as children have played outside more often, there has been an increasing number of reports of toys being damaged or disappearing, said Army Maj. Hans Hunt, the 6th ASG provost marshal, but that doesn’t mean crime is on the rise.

“Crime is not rampant,” Hunt said, but people should take precautions against theft and be vigilant.

“You should always be doing that,” he said. Another step some families may want to consider is getting an alarm system for their apartment or house, he said.

The systems can be simple and inexpensive and provide added protection, Hunt said. Equipment can be hard-wired to doors and windows to detect them opening and can include an in-house motion detector, he said.

Last month an expensive soundboard, an electronic device used in theater productions, was stolen before the initial performance of “The Miracle Worker” at the Kelley Barracks theater.

That theft remains under investigation, Hunt said.

Also last month, the 6th ASG Web site asked community members to look out for a potato cart that was reported stolen from the yard of the U.S. European Command chief of staff, Army Lt. Gen. John Sylvester, who lives on base.

Hunt said the cart was inadvertently thrown away because trash crews thought the cart was to be tossed out.

Marsha Kiplinger, who has two young children, moved to the Panzer housing area in May from Fayetteville, N.C., and said her neighbors have a good sense of community.

“We seem to be looking out for each other,” Kiplinger said.

When her children left toys outside, a neighbor knocked on her apartment door and gave her the plastic trucks.

“I was lucky. I’m not sure that would have happened in some of the other housing areas I’ve lived in,” Kiplinger said.

She said that she notices a lot of people coming and going on the Panzer housing area.

“I know I try to keep an eye out. There are visitors. Workmen. People on patrol,” Kiplinger said. “You need to look out for each other.”

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