Here’s a story from our own backyard. Over the last few weeks, there were a few burglaries in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood, which is home to a couple of IT-Lex Members. The suspected thief even killed a dog at one of the houses he broke into. Fortunately, in early February, a 22 year-old man was arrested and charged with three counts of burglary of a dwelling, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation. (No charges yet for killing the dog). So why are we talking about this here? From a neighborhood watch email that went around:  

Please know that this case was broken with the help of technology. The resident whose computer had been stolen had put a monitor on the computer to see which websites had been viewed. The following Monday, after the robbery, the monitor indicated the computer had been used multiple times since it was stolen. The detectives were quick to respond with their IT guys. The intruder chose to visit his own Facebook page and this is what allowed the police to find him.

That’s right – the suspect gave himself away by going to his Facebook page. You don’t hear too often about the positives of tracking software, but this instance shows the usefulness of this kind of technology. It’s unknown which specific program was used in this instance, but Apple has a Find My Mac feature that’s probably worth enabling, as well as an app for the iPhone, and other programs doubtless exist for PCs and other phones.

We reached out to Orlando Police Department, to see if they could offer any advice to civilians to keep their electronics better protected. Sgt. Jim Young told us:

There are many forms of “apps” and services offered through computer and phone companies as ways to locate your electronics if they are ever lost or stolen.  As a government agency, we cannot endorse one product over any other, but we encourage citizens to do their homework and choose what they feel is best for them.  Citizens can also contact their service providers to obtain additional ways to keep their information and equipment protected.  

There are many public crime prevention tips that are always available.  A couple of the simple methods is to first ensure that everyone records their serial numbers on their equipment and keep those numbers in a safe place.  On many occasions, criminals will sell the equipment and the only way to track it as stolen is through these records.  Do not keep this list on a computer, as if that is stolen, there goes your needed information.

Pretty good lesson here- it is worth it to take a few minutes to put in a tracking program and lot down a serial number of your tech-toys, as you might be able to get them back if they get nabbed.