Safety Alert – Recent Property Thefts

Recent Property Thefts

The Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) wants to advise all Tufts community members that thefts of valuable electronic devices – one cell phone and four laptop computers –increased rapidly over this past weekend.

In the most recent incidents reported to police, one cell phone and one laptop were reported stolen from a fraternity on campus, while two laptops were reported taken from two sororities on campus. Another laptop was reported taken from a Tufts community member’s off-campus address on College Avenue.

The common element in these thefts is that all but one took place while the residences were occupied by several guests, some of whom may not have been invited or were not known to residents.

Tufts Police strongly advises Tufts community members to be vigilant about whom you allow into your homes and living spaces. Restrict access to known, trustworthy guests only. Secure valuables, especially highly portable devices such as cell phones and laptops, within your living spaces, especially when entertaining. Keep your doors and windows locked, even when you are at home.

Assure that you have installed and enrolled tracking software on your cell phone or laptop by contacting your service provider. In the event that your device is lost or stolen, please contact TUPD who can assist you in utilizing your tracking software.

Immediately report suspicious persons or activity to the police by dialing 911 or Tufts Police at 617-627-6911. Suspicious activity may include:

• Wandering through backyards, around houses or inside hallways

• Checking for unlocked doors

• Climbing in windows

• Carrying possibly stolen items out of homes or loading them into a vehicle

• Knocking on doors and appearing lost or soliciting work if someone answers the door

• Is inside the residence acting as an invited guest, yet no one knows who he or she is

• While inside the residence is observed looking in rooms away from areas of socialization, feigning being lost

Always close and lock doors and windows regardless of the time of day. If you choose to open your windows due to warm weather, consider using window stops to prevent easy access.

If you are going on vacation:

• Don’t post notes about your vacation on Facebook or other social media sites until after you return. Some burglars use these sites to identify “safe” targets.

• Don’t leave obvious signs that your house is unoccupied. Lights on timers are a great first step. Stop the mail and newspaper delivery, or have a neighbor pick them up for you. Arrange for lawn care as needed. Don’t leave notes on your door.

• Make it hard to get into your house. Install good locks, and keep in mind that your hidden outdoor key is probably not as cleverly hidden as you think it is. Get to know your neighbors, and leave the key with them instead. Let them know you’ll be gone, and have them keep an eye out during your absence. If you have an alarm system, remember to activate it.

• Park a car in the driveway, but be sure to remove your garage door opener first.

• Protect against computer theft. For most of us having our computer stolen is devastating. So, back up your files and be sure to password protect all your computers and mobile devices.

• Make a quick run-through of the house with a video recorder, documenting valuables. Making an electronic record of your property could save a lot of frustration with your insurance company if you should need to file a claim.

• Make sure your insurance policy is up to date. Take the added precaution of labeling your possessions with your name. An engraver is best, but a Sharpie is better than nothing.

Taking simple steps like these will improve your peace of mind and make your getaway that much more relaxing.

Do not approach people deemed suspicious. Always report suspicious persons or activity to the police by dialing 911 or Tufts Police at 617-627-6911.