Keep your stuff safe

Report crimes at: https://police.colorado.edu/crimereporting.

Bikes can be registered at the CU Bike Station, located east of the UMC.

Register your laptop at one of these four locations in Boulder, all open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.:

University of Colorado Boulder Telecommunications Center, 1045 18th St.

Boulder Public Safety Building, 1805 33rd St.

Boulder PD Hill Community Police Center, 1310 College Ave.

Pearl Street Community Police Center, 1500 Pearl St.

Crime stats on campus:

Bike Thefts

2010: 326

2011: 145

2012: 162

Computer Hardware

2010: 38

2011: 57

2012: 35

Hide your wallet, register your laptop, and lock your bike (with a U-lock). If you're careless with your belongings on campus, you may never see them again.

CU Police Department spokesperson Ryan Huff said that while few crimes on campus are committed against people, theft continues to be the leading source of crime at CU.

In order to keep your belongings safe, Huff provided an array of safety measures that can be taken to avoid being a target of theft.

Be aware of your stuff

An easy way to protect your property on campus is to be mindful and not leave possessions unattended. Belongings that are left alone are easy targets for thieves to steal.

"If students are studying and they have their laptops out and leave it unattended for even a second, there is a potential for theft," said Huff. "Keep an eye on your valuable material."

Huff said belongings can be stolen in any location at any time, but students should be especially alert in common areas such as the UMC, dining halls, lobbies and academic buildings.

Jason Robison, right, and Drew Goldberg study in the UMC. CUPD says students should be extra alert about protecting their belongings in busy places like
Jason Robison, right, and Drew Goldberg study in the UMC. CUPD says students should be extra alert about protecting their belongings in busy places like the UMC. (Cliff Grassmick)

Register bikes and laptops

Huff recommends that all students register their bikes and laptops through the university.

When registering a laptop or bike, the serial number, make and model are taken, as well as an personalized stickers or markings. This information is then provided to the CUPD and entered into a database. If an item is recovered it can easily be matched with the information obtained and returned to the proper owner.

Students who register their laptop will receive an anti-theft sticker to put on their laptops. In theory, since the sticker signals that the laptop is registered, thieves are deterred from stealing the laptop since it will be difficult to sell to another party.

Lock it up right

The best way to secure a bike on campus, according to Huff, is to use a U-lock rather than a cable lock. U-locks are tougher to defeat than cable locks, which can be cut with bolt-cutters fairly easily. Investing in a high-quality U-lock lessens the risk of getting your bike stolen.

"If you have a valuable bike, the cost of the lock should be proportionate to the bike," said Huff.

In 2012, 165 bikes were stolen on the CU campus according to CUPD online reports -- a dramatic decrease from 2010, when a reported 326 bike thefts occurred. Huff attributes the efforts by CUPD to better educate students about U-locks and registering their bikes as a significant factor in the reduction. But he also said CUPD made 14 bike theft-related arrests in 2011 and had direct patrols at bike racks. Plus, CUPD caught a serial bike thief in June.

Oriel Eisner, a recent graduate of CU-Boulder, had his bike stolen on campus in the spring. "I had a chain and padlock to lock my bike up, and one day the padlock fell off. I stopped worrying about the lock, and I was fine for about four months until one day my bike wasn't there anymore." Eisner said his bike was stolen at the bike rack in front of the Ketchum Arts and Sciences building. He now borrows a bike from a friend and says he makes sure to lock it up.

"Campus is a place that has thousands of bikes," Huff said. "Naturally there is property that thieves are interested in. If people take the right precautions to protect their bikes the chances of getting your bike stolen are far less."

Beware of email scams

Many CU students have received emails that offer part-time job opportunities that pay hundreds of dollars per week. These emails are most likely scams, and students should make sure to not reply to those, or any other unusual emails.

In the past, CU students have lost thousands of dollars falling for email scams.

According to a 2012 CUPD news release, an email scam in October resulted in a CU student losing $5,960. The student initially received an email that offered a part-time, work-from-home job and responded to the email. The scammer then sent two checks that totaled $6,640 and asked the student to deposit the checks, then forward a money order to an address in California for $5,960. The scammer's check bounced and the student's check went through, resulting in the loss.

To decipher whether an email is a scam, Huff offered an easy policy to follow: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Online crime reporting

This year CUPD took new steps to use its time more efficiently. The new online crime reporting system debuted this past school year, and Huff said it saves valuable time for the department.

Victims of crimes that are non-emergencies -- including theft, graffiti and traffic concerns -- are encouraged to use the online system. Huff said online reporting is just as effective as an immediate follow-up and saves CUPD officers about 11 hours per month to tend to more time-sensitive issues. The online system is also easy and convenient for victims, who can simply file a report online at https://police.colorado.edu/crimereporting.

Contact writer Jake Hazan at jake.hazan@colorado.edu.

Locker it up

Right now U-locks are the safest bet for locking up a bike on campus, but CU grad Christian Nitu, co-founder of SnowGate, said his company is in the early stages of developing an electronic bike lock system that will be more safe and convenient than any traditional bike lock available.

While students in the Leeds School of Business, Nitu and his fellow founders created an electronic kiosk system for ski and snowboard equipment, but now SnowGate is exploring ways to translate its success on the slopes to the city.

Nitu said SnowGate hopes to avoid simple nuisances that come along with traditional bike locks: having a U-lock bang your knees while riding, losing your key, or forgetting the combination to your lock. All you would need for a SnowGate bike lock is your smartphone phone or credit card, which will electronically unlock your bike.

"The whole idea is that stuff that you buy on the market or chains, they are not indestructible," said Nitu. "We are developing a universal system so you can lock up your bike and don't have to bring your key anymore, because you have all of the stuff you need to lock up your bike."

More info: mysnowgate.com.