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Computer theft declines, but is still problem at Stanford

STANFORD --Theft of computers at Stanford University declined significantly from 1993 to 1994, police authorities report, but the crime remains a nagging problem, with two cases already reported in 1995.

Capt. Raoul Niemeyer of the Stanford Police Department said that in 1993, there were 42 cases of computer theft, with the items taken having a combined estimated value of $108,513. None of the cases was solved.

Last year, there were 31 cases, with equipment worth $73,696 reported stolen. Of that, $6,892 worth was recovered by police. Four of the cases were declared solved with three arrests.

There were two cases this January, with $21,763 worth of computers taken and later recovered. The suspect in that case is a former temporary employee, Anthony H. Moore., who is still at large.

About 90 percent of the computer theft cases are from administrative and academic department offices, rather than from the residences, Niemeyer said.

"Surprisingly enough, there are really very few [computers] taken from the dorms," he said.

Most Stanford departments over the past five years have installed security systems, and that has helped lower the rate of theft. In many cases, Niemeyer said, the computers taken are ones that have just been delivered to departments and are left in unsecured areas still in their boxes.

"When departments order new computers and monitors, unless they're set up and connected to the security system right away, they should be locked up somewhere secure," Niemeyer said. "As soon as they're out of the box, the serial numbers need to be recorded, and departments with engraving equipment should put not only 'Stanford' but the name of the department on them."

Careful engraving "really helps police departments in recovering equipment," he said.

The equipment for engraving can be borrowed from the police department's Special Services Unit, Niemeyer added. The unit also has information on recommended security systems. The unit can be reached at 723-9633.



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