NEWS U-M police issue warning to secure belongings

Thefts of unattended belongings on the University of Michigan campus significantly have increased in the first three months of 2012 compared with 2011. U-M Police remind students, faculty and staff to secure their valuables at all times.

"We've had a significant increase in larceny reports in 2012," said Interim Police Chief Joe Piersante. "We have made a number of arrests of career criminals who have targeted our community. But we still have predators around."

From January 1 to March 31 of 2012, the U-M Department of Public Safety received 190 reports of larcenies, a 32% increase from 144 reported in the same time period in 2011. Larcenies usually are thefts of unattended belongings. Of the 190 larcenies this year, 38 laptops and 27 cell phones were reported stolen.

Markets exist for stolen goods. "We know that stolen laptops can be traded for heroin, cocaine and other drugs," Piersante said. "Stolen credit cards often are used to purchase gift cards, which then function like cash.

"So all of us need to reduce the theft opportunities by not leaving laptops, wallets, cell phones, purses, backbacks and bookbags unattended even for a couple of minutes."

Anyone with information about these crimes or who sees suspicious activity in classroom buildings is asked to call 911 immediately or text U-M Police at 377911.

"With semester finals fast approaching, we don’t want students to lose their term paper drafts or all of their class notes just because they left their laptop on the desk for a minute," Piersante said. "Take it with you or lock it up."

updated on Apr 10 2012 13:45

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