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Laptop theft common at Dalhousie’s Killam Library

Security received 23 reports of laptops stolen from the Killam last school year

3 min read
caption A sign warning students about laptop theft is located on the second floor of the Killam Memorial Library.
Nermeen Ramadan
caption A sign warning students about laptop theft is on the second floor of the Killam Memorial Library.
Nermeen Ramadan

The Killam Memorial Library has the highest percentage of stolen laptops out of all the libraries on Dalhousie University’s campus, said Mike Burns, Dalhousie’s chief of security.

During the 2016-17 school year, Burns received reports of 23 laptop thefts at the Killam.

For “the theft of laptops and mobile devices, we were seeing a spike,” Burns said. “Ninety per cent of the time it was at the Killam Library.”

The library put up a sign raising awareness about the issue in February and has been updating it with new information ever since, said Marlo MacKay, communications co-ordinator for Dalhousie Libraries.

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Only a few laptops have been recovered. Finding those responsible is not easy for Burns and his security staff.

“Even to try to locate people on the (library security) video,” Burns said. “It doesn’t really jump out that someone is carrying a laptop or backpack with them.”

Burns said thefts happen when students leave laptops unattended because they don’t want to “lose their spot” in the library.

“They go on coffee breaks, and five minutes becomes 40 minutes, and students come back and don’t find their laptops,” Burns said.

He said the situation could be prevented if students took their laptops with them everywhere they went.

Ali Dafrawy, a biology student in his final year at Dalhousie University, said he was shocked when he read the sign. He said students have valuable information on their laptops and consider the library a safe area where they can leave their belongings.

“It’s very sad that even when you are in your learning environment you still have to watch your back,” he said. “Laptops aren’t cheap. Broke students have to save money to get them for school, and then they get stolen from them in school.”

Burns encourages students to download the DalSAFE app where they can easily reach Dalhousie Security Services and report any issues they have on campus.

He also encourages students to use Microsoft OneDrive, an online storage facility offered by Dalhousie, to save any important information they have in case their laptops are lost or stolen.

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