Winthrop University Police Department

Laptop Theft Recovery

Program Overview

C.L.A.W. - LaptopThis program is intended to decrease the possibility of your laptop being stolen while increasing the probability of its recovery in the event of a theft. Students, faculty, and staff can participate in this program at no cost, whether the laptop is personally owned or owned by Winthrop University. In today's technological world, laptop theft is an increasing form of larceny. Statistically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that on average a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds and that 1 in 10 individuals will have their laptop stolen at some point. The recovery statistics of stolen laptops is even worse, with only 3% ever being recovered. This means 97% of laptops stolen will never be returned to their rightful owners.

In response to this increasing problem, the Winthrop University Police Department is initiating Operation C.L.A.W. (Computer or Laptop Anti-theft Watch) by Prey. Operation C.L.A.W. will allow users to download a computer program to their laptop, which only after being reported stolen can be discreetly initiated, thus allowing law enforcement personnel the ability to begin tracking the stolen laptop, thereby greatly aiding in the recovery of the laptop and possible arrest of an offender.

Individuals wishing to participate in Operation C.L.A.W., will need to download and install the appropriate software to their laptop. Depending on their specific laptop's operating system, (i.e., Microsoft, Windows, or Mac) users will have to click on the appropriate download file. In order to accomplish this effectively, first open, read over, and print out the instructions for installing the software. These instructions are generic and should be used only as a template for how the installation process should proceed on your computer. Depending on your specific laptops operating system, the download and installation process may vary slightly.

In order to enter the Operation C.L.A.W. Web site, view the instructions, download the program, and complete the installation process, please log in.

Participation in Operation C.L.A.W. does not automatically register your property with the Winthrop University Police Department.

Property Registration

In addition to Operation C.L.A.W., the Winthrop University Police Department recommends that individuals also register their laptops and other property on-line by filling out the appropriate registration form. After the registration form is completed, a copy will be kept in the Winthrop University Police Department database. At the end of the registration process you will also be allowed to print a copy of the information you have provided us for your records. You can also register your property by stopping by our office, located in the Good Building, 526 Myrtle Drive. These records should be kept in a safe place for future reference. This service is also free.

Register your laptop and other property.

If your laptop or other property is stolen, contact the Winthrop University Police Department immediately at 803/323-3333 to file a report.

Benefits of Registering Your Laptop

The property registration program was developed to provide the campus community with a vital crime prevention tool. Laptop registration will effectively assist in reducing theft and aiding in recovery:

  • When a laptop is registered with the Winthrop University Police Department, the registration number is stored in a database, along with the owner's name and contact information so that he or she can be easily notified, if the laptop is recovered.

  • A registered laptop may contribute to a higher rate of conviction for those apprehended with it in their possession.

  • A registered laptop makes it easier for law enforcement officials to return it to the rightful owner if it is lost or stolen and increase your chances for recovery of your laptop if it is stolen.

  • Often, law enforcement agencies have a difficult time determining if a recovered item of value was stolen because owners had not recorded the serial numbers.

  • A laptop with a registered serial number if found, may aid officers in establishing the laptop was stolen, even though it had not yet been reported.

Lock It or Lose It

The most important step to take against laptop theft is to secure your laptop correctly whenever you leave it, even if you are just leaving it for a short period of time.

How many times have you thought, "I'll only be a minute" and left your room, office, or vehicle unlocked and thus unprotected? Unless it is an emergency, take the time and secure your laptop and other valuables appropriately by closing and locking all pertinent doors.

Most of the laptops reported stolen to the Winthrop University Police Department are left in an area, which is not locked or secured by the owner prior to them leaving the area. Thefts also routinely occur when items are left out in public areas unattended. Remember that laptops are easy targets for thieves because they're usually lightweight, easy to get to, and can be easily hidden in clothing or other means, allowing for a quick and inconspicuous getaway.