The UW-Madison Police Department is reporting a recent increase in thefts of unattended personal items such as laptop computers, backpacks, and purses.
The thefts have been geographically widespread occurring from Memorial Library west to the Health Science Center, generally occurring in open study areas. Nearly all the thefts were of items left unattended by students or staff. Additional thefts have been reported from open offices.
The most frequently occurring crime within the UW-Madison community is theft, according to UWPD. The vast majority of these thefts are of unattended valuables. It is also the most preventable crime in that simply not leaving items unattended would keep them from being stolen.
Victims of the initial theft sometimes find themselves victims of additional crimes in the form of identity theft and fraud by what the offender finds on the laptop or in the backpack or purse.
UWPD reminds students, staff and the general public that people should not leave valuables unattended for even a minute. Also please look out for one another. If you see someone leaving an item unattended remind them of the risks. In addition, report suspicious behavior. These crimes are preventable.
If you have questions or information, call (608) 264-COPS.