Apple products, such as iPods and MacBooks, have been the target of several burglaries and break-ins that have recently occurred in the surrounding campus area.
Western senior Kelsey Williams is one of the many Western students who have had the misfortune of finding her MacBook missing when she got home.
“It was a sinking feeling,” Williams said.
Williams came home from work at around 11 p.m. to find the porch lights off and the door unlocked, she said.
“I looked over where my MacBook [should have been] sitting on the couch and it was gone,” Williams said.
Realizing her home had been broken into, Williams immediately called the police and was told by an officer she was the 27th person to report her MacBook was stolen. The police also told Williams that break-ins and theft of Apple products began last year, she said.
Williams said she assumes the burglars came in through the window in her kitchen, which she and her roommate left slightly open when they left the house.
Bellingham Public Information Officer Mark Young said 60 percent of the burglaries reported to the Bellingham Police Department have been due to unlocked doors and windows.
“People are just walking right in,” Young said.
Cynthia Bach, manager of WWU Properties, said there is a lot of risk in leaving windows and doors unlocked.
“All the break-ins that the tenants have had have been through unlocked windows and unlocked doors or partially opened windows,” Bach said.
Although many of the robberies have been due to unlocked doors and windows, Western senior Greg Meyer had his laptop stolen from his house even with his doors locked and windows closed.
Meyer and his roommates went to go see a movie in early November and were gone for roughly two hours before returning home, Meyer said.
“We went to make some food and I went upstairs and noticed my laptop was gone,” Meyer said. “My roommates’ laptops were gone along with my iPod.”
Meyer and his roommates assume that whoever broke into their home used some sort of card to unlock the front door or they merely picked it, Meyer said.
Young said he is not surprised Apple products are being targeted due to their high cost. Items such as MacBooks and iPods are more expensive and just as easy to steal as any other laptop so the burglars are going to target them first, Young said.
Williams said she thinks Apple products are being targeted due to popularity amongst college students.
“They’re the hip ‘it product’ right now,” Williams said. “Everyone has them.”
Both Bach and Williams agree that these burglaries mean more than just losing a laptop.
“It’s a huge investment,” Williams said. “Mine was $1,099 plus tax, so it ends up being $1,300 and you have to buy [Microsoft] Word for it, so it’s a big cost.”
For Meyer, the impact of losing his MacBook was not just financial, but educational as well. Meyer and his roommate have lost papers, pictures and other files they did not have backed up, Meyer said.
“Whoever is stealing it - for extra cash, for a thrill, for money, for drugs - they get that, but they’re not realizing they’re really messing up people’s lives,” Meyer said. “I was working on a paper. I’m really backed up in school and it’s really screwed up my quarter.”
To prevent further break-ins, Bach urges her tenants to lock their doors, leave their lights on and look out for one another.
“People just need to be careful and watch out for their neighbors,” Bach said. “People need to take a more neighborhood-watch approach to things.”
Bach and Young also suggested getting renter’s insurance to minimize the effects of their property being stolen.
Meyer said it would also be wise to invest in a tethering kit to keep laptops and MacBooks locked down, and to sign up for Apple’s “Find my Mac” service, which will help people locate their items if they’ve been stolen or gone missing.
Young advises anyone who has their home broken into to call Bellingham Police immediately so an investigation can be started as soon as possible.
As for those committing the break-ins and robberies, Williams is optimistic the perpetrators will be found.
“The person is still stealing and the more the person steals, the more likely they’ll be caught,” Williams said. “They’re going to leave a fingerprint behind or a glove behind. They’re going to make a mistake and that’s kind of my hope.”