Once you head off to college, you will be adjusting to an entirely new environment. Most of your experiences will be positive ones, but we feel we should warn you about a growing problem on college campuses: Many campus police departments report that laptops are the number one stolen item, and it only takes a moment of lapsed attention for your device to be stolen.
In fact, you should always keep in mind that not everyone on campus is a student. Most college campuses are fairly open to the public, so groups of non-students often prowl the area together, looking for opportunities to commit crimes. They alert one another via text, and unattended laptops or other devices are snatched, passed from one set of hands to another, and disappear.
So, how can you keep your devices safe?
Never leave devices unattended. Even if you’re just visiting the restroom around the corner, take your laptop and other belongings with you. It only takes a moment for a thief to obscure your device in his jacket or backpack, and take off for the nearest exit.
Use a cable lock. If for some reason you do need to step away from your laptop, secure it to a large stationary object with a cable lock. This is only recommended in cases of absolute necessity, however.
Don’t leave your laptop in the car. Yes, even if the car is locked, and even if you toss a blanket or jacket over the item. Thieves break into cars regardless, looking for anything they can find. It’s no big deal if they get away with the change in your cup holder, but they will thoroughly search the car for more valuable items.
Install a tracking software. There is no guarantee that your laptop will be returned to you, but a tracker does increase your chances.
Register your device with the campus police department. They will record the serial number, so if your laptop is recovered they can return it to you.
And of course, always back up your data! A cloud system is preferable, because that can’t be stolen. At least if your laptop is lost, your notes, papers, and project work can be recovered.