The newest case in a rash of illegal entries and thefts in University residence halls highlights the need for GW students to lock their doors and perhaps secure their laptop computers even when the door is locked.
About $1,000 worth of equipment – a laptop, mini-disc player and watch – was stolen from Mitchell Hall resident Daniel Yang’s room Feb. 20. The most disturbing aspect surrounding the circumstances of the robbery was that Yang’s door was locked. Yang’s laptop wasn’t locked.
The day of the theft, a University Telecommunications technician keyed into Yang’s room and repaired his computer when Yang wasn’t in the room. Although working in vacant residence hall rooms is common procedure for Telecommunications technicians, the procedure raises significant security concerns. Any time a University employee keys into a resident’s vacant room, the University should be liable for that employee’s conduct. It is important to note, though, that there is no evidence to directly implicate any University employee in this theft.
There are solutions to this apparent dilemma that would allow University employees to protect themselves from charges of impropriety and residents to protect their belongings. In light of the questions raised by this recent theft, perhaps the Telecommunications Department should review its policy on workers entering vacant rooms. Also, students can request that Telecommunications technicians only work on computers when they are present in the room.
The only sure way students can secure their valuable laptops is to keep them locked away when they are not in use. It’s a small preventative measure that could save students’ hundreds of dollars.
Unfortunately, simply locking the door isn’t always enough, as some GW students have learned the hard way. The only way to ensure that laptops remain safe from theft is to have them locked.