The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 27th

Offcials Suggest More Security After Laptop Thefts

On Wednesday, two separate incidents were reported of laptops being stolen from residence halls -- a problem that officials say tends to occur all around campus.

Captain Mark McIntyre of the Department of Public Safety said students are not the only victims of campus laptop theft.

"Some are stolen out of dorms and out of libraries, but the majority have been taken from business offices and administrative buildings," he said.

McIntyre also said this problem has been ongoing. "Over the past several years, there has been an increase in thefts," McIntyre said. "But then again, there has also been an increased number of students with laptops on campus."

The Carolina Computing Initiative, which requires all incoming freshmen to purchase laptops, began last fall.

Recent laptop thefts also have presented a question of where the stolen laptops are funneled. "Some that are stolen are for personal use, but there's got to be a market for them somewhere," McIntyre said.

Bruce Egan, associate director of the Academic Technology & Networks help desk, noted the ease with which laptops can be stolen. "It's certainly a significant problem because it's so easy to just slide them into a backpack," he said.

The increase in thefts has made students more aware of the problem. Freshman business major Jeffrey Waters said he has been more attentive of his laptop lately. "I've thought about it," he said. "And reading about it recently makes me more aware of it as a problem."

Although students know theft is something to be cautious of, most don't alter their behavior. But McIntyre said students do need to be aware of the risk and of things they can do to prevent theft.

He said students need to have the serial numbers, makes and models of their laptops written down so that they can be recovered more easily if they are stolen.

"Also, make sure to keep your rooms and offices secure and don't leave (the laptops) laying out," McIntyre said.

Students who purchase their laptops through the University are covered by Safeware insurance. Safeware insures UNC laptops for 4 years so that students are covered under the plan the entire time they are students.

Though the insurance plan covers theft and natural disasters, additional security also is recommended.

John Gorsuch, manager of the computer department in the Ram Shop, said it's always a good idea to use safety locks. "All of the laptops you can buy through UNC come bundled with a lock kit that locks the computers down."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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