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Property theft - 5 tips to protect your stuff

Theft is a crime of opportunity, and on average only takes about eight seconds if items are left unattended. Follow our tips to limit the opportunities of would-be thieves and protect yourself from becoming a victim of property crime.

Universities are considered target-rich environments for criminals to commit property crime, with students and staff equipping themselves with the latest electronic devices and other equipment each year. In 2018 alone UBC Campus Security recorded 398 reports of property theft on the Vancouver campus.

1. Use common sense

The majority of theft prevention is common sense:

  • Don’t leave your valuables where they can be easily taken.
  • Lock the door behind you.
  • Keep all of your electronics password protected.
  • Minimize the amount of valuables/cash you carry in public.

These are things we’ve all heard before, but by making habits out of common-sense actions you will make yourself less vulnerable. If you minimize the targets, you’ll minimize the risk.

Recording your property's details and engraving your information on them can help you get back stolen items.

2. Record your belongings

You’ll never be able to completely eliminate the risk of property crime, but having a record of your belongings, or clearly marking them with your information could help get them back if you do become a victim.

  • Engrave your property with your driver's license or identification card number.
  • Record the make, model and serial numbers of your valuable property, one good way is to use the Vancouver Police Department’s “Log it or lose it” system.
  • Make a list of all credit/debit cards, along with phone numbers for easy cancellation – make sure you store this in a safe location or password protect it.

3. Be aware

It might seem simple, but be aware of your surroundings. Know where your belongings are and don’t leave them unattended in public places. Most thefts take place while the owner isn’t present, so keeping your valuables on hand, or asking a friend to look after them while you’re away, will hugely reduce the risk of them getting taken.

4. Secure your valuables

When you’re not around, keep your doors and windows locked and valuables out of sight, even if you’ll only be away for a few moments. Not advertising your valuables will discourage opportunist thieves. If you’re heading out of town it’s best to take valuables with you wherever possible.

5. Do Not Delay, Report Right Away

Reporting all thefts as soon as possible to RCMP and UBC Campus Security increases your chances of getting your items back, and could help prevent others from falling victim too.

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