Protecting and securing electronic devices, other valuable belongings

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chief of Police Nader Oweis, and Chief Information Security Officer Byron Walker

Following a rash of thefts on and off campus, we want to encourage our community members to remain vigilant in protecting their valuable personal and professional belongings.

UC Santa Cruz police officers have seen a spike in crimes of opportunity—theft of electronic devices (e.g., phones, computers, tablets, etc.), bags, and more. Many of the reports have stemmed from the items being left unattended, and we have learned of an increase of burglaries from locked vehicles off campus. People should avoid leaving their electronic devices in a vehicle, as thieves may still try to break in to steal the device.

Campus community members are encouraged to keep their belongings with them or in a secure location to reduce the risk of theft. In addition, electronic devices should have a strong password, and full disk encryption should be considered. This practice means the contents of the computer’s hard drive are protected, even if it is stolen. This is particularly important for campus employees who work with sensitive and confidential information.

Anyone who witnesses something suspicious or a crime, or who has information regarding any crime is encouraged to dial 911 or call the UC Santa Cruz Police Department at 831-459-2231, ext. 1.

Safety Tips

Secure your vehicle

Do not leave anything in plain view

Always remember to lock your doors and roll up windows to a safe height

Park in well-lit areas

If you leave your vehicle, bring your car keys! A thief’s window of opportunity is less than a minute

At home or on campus

Make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked, even if you are leaving for just a brief moment

Try to keep valuables out of sight from windows or away from doors

Beware of extortion schemes

Out and about

Remember that the cubbies at OPERS and at dining halls are unmonitored

Don’t leave your backpack or computer unattended

ITS Support


To report a security incident:

More information about protecting laptops:

For questions or assistance from ITS, open a support ticket, call 831-459-HELP (9-4357), or email