Computer Theft

Laptop computers have become prime targets for both the casual and experienced thief. With laptops valued up to $5,000 the incidence of thefts are increasing. Even though the incidence of laptop theft at Winona State University is very low, thefts do occur.

There are a number of strategies that may either prevent the theft of laptops or aid in their recovery if you should become a victim. Some of are common sense; while others feature a more physical approach to the issues.

• Never leave your laptop unattended.
• Keep your residence hall room locked at all times.
• Record the make, model and serial number of you computer and any other devices associated with it. The University will generally keep a record of your laptop, however, you should also keep a record.
• Keep your laptop away from accessible windows where the thief can quickly break the window, reach in and remove the machine from your room.
• In a residence hall, be mindful of leaving a laptop unattended in common spaces such as study rooms or, kitchens. Because the residence hall is viewed as home, it is easy to become too trusting and complacent.
• In the residence hall room, care should also be exercised. Though you may know and trust your roommate, the roommate's friends may not be as trustworthy. Your laptop should be locked in a closet or drawer when not in use; or secure it to the desk top with an approved security device.
• The doors to labs, office spaces and residence halls rooms should be secured whenever your laptop is left unattended. If possible, the laptop should be stored in a locked file cabinet or secured with a locking device.
• If your office is equipped with a lock, use it any time you’re away. It sounds simple, but many office thefts are crimes of opportunity often committed by strangers or employees who simply walk through the building looking for items of value.
• Report suspicious activity to Security immediately.
• Be careful about your laptop in the library. Take it with you when you leave your table or use a cable lock to temporarily secure it to the top of a study desk.
• Bookstores frequently require you to place book bags and books on storage bins outside the store. Ideally, such containment areas should be lockable. If not, you may be able to check the laptop in with the store staff, otherwise, leave your laptop at home or with a friend who remains outside the store. Check with the store staff, you may be able to take it with you into the store.

Report the theft of your laptop immediately to Winona State University Security and/or the Winona Police Department.