Don't Feed the Thieves

University of Alberta campuses are among the safest places around. A crime we can reduce, however, is theft of property.

Thieves are on the watch for opportunities to grab our laptops, wallets and purses, cash, backpacks, smartphones, music players, bikes, briefcases, and any other portable, valuable items we don't want to lose. With a few simple precautions we can reduce this crime significantly.

To help keep you and your stuff together, we offer these suggestions:

In public spaces such as the library, SUB or HUB or common areas in buildings

It only takes a couple of seconds for a thief to grab your stuff, slide it in their backpack and walk away. And yes, it can even happen in the library.

Don't leave your things unattended - even when you only plan a quick trip to the washroom.

Do take your things with you or leave them in the care of a friend or other trusted person.

Your locker

Do use the best quality lock you can afford.

Don't leave your most valuable things in your locker - even when you do have a good lock.

Your bike

Do use a U-shaped bicycle lock to secure your bike and wheels to a designated bike rack. We don't recommend a cable lock as it can be easily and quickly defeated. Permits can be purchased for the bicycle cage located near the entrance to the Education Carpark. Please contact Parking Services at 492-PARK (7275).

Do take removable items and accessories, such as lights, odometers and water bottles, with you.

Do ensure the lock and bike are difficult to move when secured. Always keep the lock away from the ground; thieves may try to smash it. Ensure the gap between the bike and the lock is small.

Do keep a record of the bicycle model, make, colour, serial number and any other unique characteristics. If possible, take a clear, colour photograph of the bike.

Don't lock your bike in an isolated, unlit area. Lock it where a potential thief can easily be seen.

Your car

Do lock your vehicle when you leave it

Don't leave your windows rolled down, not even a crack.

Don't leave ANYTHING on display when you leave your vehicle - even loose change or clothing.

Don't leave vital information in your vehicle.

Do use a car alarm or have one installed if you can.

Do remove the ignition keys and activate the steering lock or use a steering locking device.

University offices

Do lock up your wallet or purse.

Do lock your office door if the office is left unattended, even for short periods.

Don't bring large sums of cash with you to work or keep large of amounts of cash in your office

Don't post vacation times or itineraries on your door.

Do post a "No Cash Left on Premises" sign on your door after hours if advertising for the sale of tickets, clothing, etc.

Don't prop open doors to locked offices, labs or buildings. If you find a door that is propped open, remove the obstruction.

Do arrange your offices so it is difficult to access inner areas without passing the receptionist.

Do have staff members come to the front and escort visitors back to the proper areas.

Do check identification from strangers wanting to enter your area. Remember they are strangers and it is up to them to establish their identity to you. In most cases a polite "May I help you?" is sufficient.

Suspicious activity

Reports of suspicious activity/behaviour provided to Protective Services make a HUGE difference in reducing crime. In our experience, most calls made based on intuition are well founded.

Just call us and describe the concerning activity/behaviour that you are observing.

Suspicious activity/behaviour may be exhibited by people who:

  • Enter rooms, offices, labs, with no apparent business to transact
  • Solicit, ask for donations, etc.
  • Carry weapons such as knives or guns
  • Tamper with locks on doors, windows, bicycles and vehicles
  • Carry unwrapped property at unusual hours
  • Carry suspicious items such as crowbars, screwdrivers or bolt cutters
  • More concerned with who is around them than what they are working on or looking for
  • Refuse help if you ask to assist them
  • May appear scared, nervous or anxious