EUGENE, Ore. – Eight laptops have been stolen in a two-month span on the same street.
In the latest incident, Eugene Police said three University of Oregon student homes were burglarized late Friday night off 19th Avenue in Eugene.
Police said thieves walked into unlocked doors between midnight and 11 a.m.
Officers said the thieves stole laptops from four students while they were sleeping. They said even though no one was hurt, these crimes could turn violent.
“It’s definitely a personal safety concern for us,” Eugene Police crime prevention specialist Steven Chambers said. “It could easily escalate to an assault or worse.”
Chambers reminds the public to double check the locks on your doors before you go to sleep.
He said there were other valuables in the homes, but the burglars chose to steal just the laptops.
“Computers and laptops are easier to trade and sell for drugs,” Chambers said. “They also have personal information on them that can be used and sold.”
Just five minutes away from the string of burglaries is ‘Mac Tonic’, a Eugene-based tech shop aimed at fixing Mac computers.
They said there are preventative measures you can take to get your laptop back after it’s been stolen and ways to secure the personal information on your laptop before it gets stolen.
“Security on your machine is vital,” Mac Tonic lead technician, Colin Arndt said.
Arndt has serviced Mac’s for more than 15 years and the thought of a stolen laptop makes him cringe.
“You don’t even realize how much stuff is on your Mac that’s completely personal information, but that’s how we live our lives these days,” he said.
Arndt said there are a few easy ways to combat laptop thieves. He said “Find My Mac” is a main defense to finding a stolen device. It allows you to track your stolen laptop on a map with another device.
Arndt said getting your device back is just half the battle. Protecting your personal information while a thief has it is another issue.
He suggests more people encrypt their personal information before their laptop gets stolen.
“It’s really not that technical. Encryption just means that someone cannot see any of the data on your machine unless they have your password,” Arndt said.
He said with it just takes a couple of easy steps in your computer security settings.
“Then your Mac is encrypted and your info is safe,” he said.
Arndt said encryption is a necessary measure. If you don’t do it, someone can steal your identity just as easily as they he or she stole your laptop.
“This is an additional layer of security that you can enable and it’ll mean that basically no one besides you will ever be able to see the date on your computer,” he said.
Click here to see the step-by-step process of enabling “Find My Mac” on your computer and click here to find out how you can set up encryption.