Personal Item Theft (Theft of Opportunity) -

Tips on Theft Prevention

A Theft of Opportunity can be defined as a planned or unplanned theft of property (ie. when the personal items are left unguarded, this provides the opportunity).

  • Theft of Opportunity is the number 1 crime at SFU and a majority of university campuses across North America.
  • High value assets including small, portable items or electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablets are the most sought after items.

  1. Do not leave your items unattended.  This includes leaving your laptop on the desk in the Library to search for a book, use the washroom, or take a quick call in the stairwell.  The theft often goes unnoticed by others in the area as they only take a few seconds to commit.
  2. Don’t leave your property out of your view.  Some items have gone missing with the owner present and not paying attention.  Leave your items out of the view of others; if you are reading a book, leave your laptop in your backpack and on the desk where you will see anyone attempting to tamper with it or steal your items.
  3. Don’t assume that your friends or others around you will watch your property.  If you must leave the area for any reason the best bet is to take your property with you.
  4. Personalize your property.  Add stickers, covers, engraving or other markings that will make it personal and less attractive to thieves due to lower resale value from personalization.
  5. Use a cable lock attached to your laptop.  Make sure that the cable is locked to something secure.  You should also use security features such as passwords and encryption.