By Margaret PowersMaroon-News StaffSecurity hardly seems like a major issue in rural Hamilton, but recent thefts in the Bryan and Cutten complexes have challenged the illusion that students live in a crime-free area. During spring break, four laptops were reported stolen from Russell, Parke and Brigham House, along with other electronic equipment including a digital camera and a PlayStation. On Friday, March 25, three additional laptops were stolen from Brigham and Russell House. In nearly all cases, the rooms had been left unlocked and thus the theft likely occurred within minutes. A peculiarity of the thefts was that only electronic equipment was taken, even though other valuables such as cash were in plain sight. The robbery is currently under investigation and campus alerts have been issued to Residential Advisors and Head Residents to urge their residents to be more careful with their personal belongings. “Colgate is relatively crime-free,” Director of Campus Safety Gary Bean said, “which can be a blessing and a hindering. Students can easily let their guard down.” Many Colgate students don’t lock their doors, which makes it much easier for theft to occur and more difficult to apprehend a suspect.Due to this incident, Campus Safety is placing more emphasis on encouraging students to heighten their awareness of security. Students are urged to lock their doors and watch their equipment carefully. In addition, because dorms have relatively little security, students should report any suspicious persons to Campus Safety and be wary of letting strangers into their dorms.”Be sure you have your records in order: receipts, serial numbers, MAC Addresses, etc.,” Director of the Student Technologies Resource Group Judy Doherty said in terms of protecting one’s personal computer. “You should have copies of these documents here at school stored with other important papers and keep a copy at home. You should be able to immediately access this information should you need to prove ownership, warranty or report a theft or problem. Register your MAC Address on the Colgate network. This is an excellent record of your computer ownership/existence.” Doherty also suggested that students secure important files in case of computer theft.”Back up your data,” she said. “In the unfortunate circumstance that your laptop is stolen, then you should not have to worry about your data – your files, papers, research, and pictures.”Campus Safety is increasing patrols around the two residential complexes where the thefts occurred, but their intent is mainly to increase student visibility. “You can be in control of a lot of this,” Doherty said. “So much of this is in each of our abilities to manage. We just have to take control of the situation and not be a victim of any kind. If we do become a victim, we need to know what to do and respond quickly.” Hopefully, students will take better actions to protect themselves and prevent future thefts.