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Posted on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Thefts of personal belongings on the rise at University of Michigan

By Kellie Woodhouse

Thefts of personal belongings, such as laptops and cellphones, are on the rise at the University of Michigan.

The U-M Department of Public Safety alerted students on Tuesday to "secure their valuables at all times" because larcenies are on the rise by 32 percent, up from 144 incidents between January 1 and March 31 last year to 190 incidents during the same time period this year.

"It's significant," DPS spokesperson Diane Brown said of the uptick. "We're having a lot of crime happening, which tends to also attract a lot of other types of additional crime."

Of those 190 larcenies, 38 laptops and 27 cell phones were reported stolen. According to Brown, most reported incidents involved items left unattended, such as "purses left wide open underneath somebody's desk."

"The thing about larcenies is that they can be mostly prevented, unlike other types of crimes that are mostly difficult to prevent," Brown continued.

Police warn students to never leave their belongings unattended "even for a couple of minutes" because "it takes less than a minute for a thief to take your belongings."

Police ask anyone who sees suspicious activity to call 911 or text 377911.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


rusty shackelford

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

access to libraries, where most of these thefts occur, really ought to be restricted to m-card holders after 6pm or so. that would help a lot.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

The university makes a extra, extra special point of wanting diversity, even beyond fairly letting students in by scores. Guess they got some thieves and crooks in the mix. Hope they are happy.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 9:29 a.m.

Many of the commenters are making the assumption that fellow students are the only culprits. I would say most of this is caused by outsiders/non-students loitering around the larger campus buildings looking for opportunities. I worked at UM until I relocated to another state a couple of years ago and we would contact DPS several times a week about creepy people wandering the halls testing doors and attempting to steal whatever was convenient. These people were definitely NOT students. Ann Arbor in general has a reputation of being easy on crime. Over the years this reputation has been a magnet for criminals, panhandlers, etc. It now appears to be reaching critical mass both on and off campus. You get ... what you condone!


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 8:32 a.m.

Students just need to keep hold of their belongings, of which there are many. Everyday I see some leave their cellphones, laptops, purses and wallets on study tables and walk away. Having more security would not only be cost prohibitive, but impossible to employ and still allow quick access needed to get students, faculty and staff to classes and other events.


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

Nothing anywhere is safe anymore.Keep track of your stuff or somebody will take it.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

I don't understand why this even needs a separate alert email. How many times do students need to be told not to leave things unattended. Shouldn't this be common sense, like locking your doors when you go, or looking both ways before crossing? Aren't UM students supposed to be the best and the brightest? Or something like that? The only thing more irritating are people who ask, "can you watch my stuff?" and run off to who-knows-where. Yes, sure, I'll take responsibility for your property because you're too lazy to and I have nothing better to do. I'm not doing any work at the library, I just came to browse Facebook. Heck I'll even risk my safety and tackle the thief who tries to steal your laptop/phone/iPod you obviously place so much value on that you have no problem with leaving it with a complete stranger.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

Somehow this is Ypsi's fault!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

Recall laid off AA police. Oops! UofM has their own police force. Go figure! Maybe quantity of police on the force does not guarantee best or lowest crime rates.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

Hundreds of U-M students plan march in protest at 6pm tonight to protest the stealing of laptops, cell phones and other electronic gear.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

Yes! A protest will solve anything. I guess they don't have anything better to do and need the fresh air.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the campus being a gun free zone. I know if I was a crook that would seem like a much safer work enviroment.


Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

18-21 year olds on campus for the most part haven't impressed me with their maturity levels. BTW, I work in central campus area, so I do actually see this on a regular basis.

Ulysses Wong

Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Since when is a 21 year old a "kid"?


Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

all that is true but a whole bunch of college kids with guns isn't my idea of being safe either.


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

So I guess the question is, who is doing this stealing from students? If it's happening in classroom buildings, then is it students stealing from students? I read about parking lot robberies, and those can be committed by any passing thug. But if students are having possessions stolen in classrooms, the union, admin buildings, libraries, etc, then the question is whether it's students doing the stealing or outsiders. What are outsiders doing in classroom buildings, for example. There needs to be greater security put into place at the entrances to these buildings, and in the buildings themselves (cameras that are monitored). If students are caught stealing on campus, there needs to be an arrest and serious consequences (suspension, expulsion). Lock up your stuff, kids!


Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Theft of anything that isn't nailed down citywide is on the rise.