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Gadget and Computer Theft On The Rise

by Sean P. Aune | December 18, 2009December 18, 2009 1:47 pm PDT

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released statistics that show the thefts of gadgets, game systems and computers are on the rise, and around the winter holidays is the worst time of them all.

Reports indicate that thefts of gaming systems have nearly doubled each year since 2007 and are leading the way amongst thieves of electronics, but it is actually an across the board problem for any form of gadget or home electronics.  The chart below, produced by USA Today, paints a pretty bleak picture of how your favorite tech items are being stolen:

theftchart

Basically, if it requires electricity to either run or charge up batteries, the rate of theft is up.  Larry J. Siegel, a criminologist at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, told the newspaper, “Criminals are rational. They steal things that have high value, are easily transportable and easily sold.”  He went on to add,  “The most expensive thing in my house is my refrigerator, but nobody is trying to steal my refrigerator.”

While these numbers are sobering, and can make you think twice about the gadgets we all love to own, one thing I noticed missing from the article was any suggestions on how to actually prevent this from happening to you.

Most theft prevention is common sense, but sadly it seems that is becoming more and more of a scarce commodity in this day and age.  So what are some of the steps you can take?

  • We all love to show off our newest acquisition, but are you sure that everyone in your home at any given time is someone you trust implicitly?  Unless you feel completely safe with someone, never show off any thing more than you have to.
  • Make sure to always lock up any time you leave the house, even if its only for a minute.
  • Keep your blinds and drapes closed as much as possible so people can’t see that massive HDTV in your family room from the street.
  • If you are out in public with your gadgets, keep them on your body if its a cell phone or MP3 player.
  • If you must walk away from your laptop in a public place, attach it to something like the table support or park bench with a security cable.
  • Keep your digital camera in your pocket or a belt holster.
  • Just as you wouldn’t turn your back on your child and walk away while they are sitting in a shopping cart, neither should you do this when it comes to your cell phone.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and who might be watching you.

It’s never fun to be paranoid, but in this day and age you just can’t be too careful.  And if these statistics show anything, it is that if you aren’t at least a little suspicious of people, you could be one of the numbers for next year.

What are some of your tips for keeping your gadgets and electronics safe?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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