According to Temple University’s Annual Security Report, there were 282 reported incidents of theft on the Main campus in 2003. In 2004, the number rose to 312, an 11 percent increase.
The sudden jump may be attributed to the rapid growth of technology. As personal devices like iPods, laptops and cell phones become smaller, the value of the items increases. Because these handheld devices are so small, they are easier to steal.
“The other day, I was discussing the changes in crime relating to technology,” said Charles Leone, deputy director of Campus Safety Services. “With high-priced items becoming more and more portable, these issues will rise.”
According to Leone, most incidents of theft on campus are not incidents of force; they are due to negligence on the owner’s part.
“Most of our thefts are crimes of opportunity where property is left unattended,” said Leone. “Always be aware of where you keep your property.”
If something happens to your gadget, alert Campus Safety and report the item stolen. The police may be aware of several incidents of crime that may tie into your case directly.
“We can track any patterns of theft and quickly direct patrols to prevent or apprehend individuals involved,” Leone said.
PDAs, cell phones and laptops are a target for thieves, according to Leone. Reported incidents of these devices being stolen have increased dramatically. Today’s PDAs and cell phones can cost well over $500, while laptops can cost over $2,000. He suggested hiding these items in your pockets or book bag.
iPods, the tiny and very recognizable mp3 players, are also becoming more popular with thieves.
“We’ve had a few iPods stolen, but not any unusually high number,” said Leone. “I know that this will change as prices fall and more people use them on campus.”
Should an iPod be stolen, Leone said users should have backed up the songs on a computer.
“The value of the device is the expense of replacing 5,000 songs, as well as the device itself,” he said.
Leone also warns iPod users to pay attention to their surroundings.
“Most of our students walk around with the iPods playing while walking across the street or taking public transportation,” he says. “You can enjoy your favorite song without completely zoning out while in public.”
Leone also suggested registering high-tech devices with campus security to ensure their return if they are recovered after being stolen.
To register an electronic device, call 215-204-5870 and ask for Capt. Eileen Bradley or Sgt. Monica Hankins.
Michelle Presbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.