Theft prevention tips for personal electronics

In June of 2009 Seattle Police detectives served warrants on some South Seattle locations that were found to be buying laptop computers and other electronics stolen in residential burglaries. As a result of those warrants and the recovery of hundreds of stolen laptops, we saw a decrease in laptop thefts.

Listed below are some security and theft prevention tips specific for your laptop computers:

· Don’t leave laptops in plain sight. Often, our laptops sit on a table near a window and in clear view. When not in use, store the laptop away, out of plain view from the home exterior.

· Record your laptop serial number, model number and approximate value. This helps us locate and identify stolen property. In the event the laptop is recovered, there is a much better chance of having the property returned to you.

· Engrave your laptop. Using an engraving pen or etcher, etch the item with your name or a distinctive number that you will remember. Handheld engravers are available at most hardware stores for less than $25. You can also use this tool to similarly engrave your other electronics (desktop computers, DVD players, gaming systems, etc). Property that is obviously engraved with personal names and numbers make that property less attractive to thieves.

· Password protect your laptop. Make it more difficult for someone to access your system and the data in your files.

· Back up your data. This is especially important if you use your laptop for business. Using a $20 thumb drive to save copies of your files and keeping that drive someplace safe is a better alternative than losing all that data and having to rebuild from scratch.

Below are some commercially available products you may want to consider. An Internet search on any of these terms will provide you additional information, specifications and sources for these items.

Laptop Security Cable Locks

Think of it as a bike cable for your laptop. Some of these connect to your laptop’s built in security slot and have combination or keyed locks. Just loop the cable around an immovable object and secure it to the laptop security slot.

Laptop Tie Down Security Brackets

These come in many varieties. Some secure the laptop to a surface by bolting the bracket to a surface while others connect to a cable. They can secure the laptop in either an open or closed position depending on the type you get.

Laptop Lockers

Laptop lockers are safes designed to securely store laptop computers and other valuables. They can be mounted anywhere and deter theft and unwanted access.

Computer Tracking Software

This software tracks the location of a computer hard drive when that system accesses the Internet.

These are just a few suggestions. Check with your local computer hardware store or check the Internet for additional laptop security options.