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MIT has seen a steady increase in stolen items from campus, including desktop and laptop computers, computer accessories such as thumb drives and external hard drives, and mobile phones. The cost to MIT and individuals can total several hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Preventing property loss

The MIT Police Crime Prevention Unit offers some ways to reduce exposure to theft, and select MIT vendors have devices that have been approved by MIT Police for securing computers and related equipment.

Theft deterrents

Learn more about the following theft deterrents and retrieval assistants: cables & locks, STOP tags, and theft recovery software

Laptop safety while traveling

Learn more about how to keep your computer safe while traveling.

Secure disposal

When recycling or disposing of an old workstation, mobile phone, or external drive, it is important to ensure that no critical data remains on the drive or flash card. Thieves will look in storage and trash removal areas to find anything that might be worth selling. Remove data in a manner that makes it impossible for anyone to retrieve it after disposal.

If loss has occurred

Loss may be covered by MIT's insurance. Check with the Insurance Office (617-253-2823) for more information, and learn how to take advantage of their waiver of retention policy for equipment theft.

If equipment has been lost or stolen, report it immediately to MIT Police (617-253-1212 or dial 100 from campus) and, if applicable, to your building's site team. If there is any chance restricted or confidential data resided on the equipment, contact It is preferable to report a potential breach and learn that there was no disclosure, than not report it and later learn that someone made use of the information they found. Federal or local data breach regulations may need to be adhered to as well.