Students, staff can register laptops, cell phones

Photo of laptop computerIn the time it takes to notice a laptop computer, a cellular telephone or television missing, NIU students and staff can take steps to improve chances their electronic valuables will be returned if they are found.

The NIU Department of Police and Public Safety is offering an online service to students and staff who want to register the electronics they carry from class to class or leave in their residence hall rooms. The service is free and quick, said Sgt. Alan Smith, administrative sergeant and public information officer.

“All people have to do is go to the campus’ Public Safety website, click on the electronic device registration tab, complete it and submit it by e-mail,” Smith said. “Then, the Public Safety Department will have on file a record of the serial numbers and models of the devices.”

Photographs of the items are not needed but are welcome, he added.

The idea for the electronic registration service came out of the bicycle registration service offered by the Public Safety Department. When a bicycle is taken, the registration makes the odds of recovery much better.

“Sometimes, a student who lost a bike will see it on campus with a different lock attached to it,” he said. “All the student has to do is call the police. If it is registered with us, we will know to whom it belongs. Then, we can return it to the owner.”

Months of sitting in the campus lost-and-found are avoided because the student took a minute to register the bicycle. The same premise holds for laptop or personal computers that can cost up to $3,000, iPads that can cost $500 and more, iPods that can cost up to $200 and cellular telephones that can cost $200 and more.

“All of these are costly items,” Smith said. “We have recovered some items in the past, but since they were not registered, we had no way of knowing to whom they belonged.”

A list of the items in the Public Safety Department’s lost-and-found can be seen online.

The electronics registration program is a good example of the outreach services the Department of Police and Public Safety provides, the sergeant said.

“We’re always looking for ideas for more programs that will improve campus safety. Students and faculty are asked to go to our website and see what is offered. If they have any suggestions for additional programs, they can contact me at (815) 753-9607.”

by Gerard Dziuba

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