My son plans to major in CS and just received his new laptop, the Mac Pro with Retina Display. He is understandably concerned about having his higher-end still-in-short-supply laptop attract the focus of opportunist thieves.
Are there locks on the desk drawers in the dorm rooms? Are there lockers available throughout campus? What strategies work when the laptop won't be needed for a few hours?
We know about registering with campus security, and I'm sure the vast majority of Brown students are honest, but all it takes is one mistake in the vicinity of the wrong person.
There are no locks on desk drawers in the dorms, but you could get one of those security cable things to chain the laptop to the desk. You could probably use that for when you are in the library as well, though most people just ask a person nearby to keep a lookout when they go to the bathroom etc.
I don't believe there are very many lockers around campus for student use (if any at all). Most people, if they are the kind who bring their laptops around, just lug them along in their bags or something.
You can get them with a key or a combination, and it's typically the best strategy for leaving your laptop on a desk. Rooms do lock, so the real worry isn't it being stolen out of his room - it's him leaving his bag somewhere and it being picked up. Thefts aren't too common on campus, so I wouldn't be extremely worried. The thefts that I've heard about come about when people are being dumb - leaving their laptop on a table in the library and walking off, leaving their dorm room unlocked, etc.
You can also make sure it's covered under insurance - I know my parents' insurance covers things in my dorm room as well.
The new Retina Mac is thinner and has no place to loop through a security cable, which is another problem. Some company will soon market an alternative solution, of course, but it'll probably be less elegant and more expensive.
I didn't know that any of the frosh rooms did not have safes now. (maybe some of the converted lounges etc?) Anyway, most students don't put their laptops in them, except maybe when going away for Thanksgiving etc. (not a bad time to do that then, and if he/she doesn't have a safe, they're likely to be able to ask a friend). Most thefts are from unattended bags, or stuff left out in the library, open dorm room etc. My student has a ultralight, expensive laptop, and is careful to not do that. Also recommends to not take it out say at the Ratty, and then put it back in a backpack and leave it unattended. (You just announced that your cool laptop is now unattended.) My eldest went to a big theft prone school with a "can't even buy it yet" laptop, and he did use a cable lock all the time. Few students at Brown use them. There are some that I think go into your USB hub somehow, but almost every computer has some little tie place that you can put a small steel cable link into (it permanently seals) and then the cable lock goes through that if it is too big for the computer spot. Yes, someone could break the computer casing to take it off, but most thieves don't want to do that. My eldest also put a big permanent glue sticker on the outside of his laptop that he liked. He said it seemed to make the sticky fingered people think twice. You can also boldly etch some identifying thing like cell phone number onto the laptop also to discourage theft. This also helps if it just gets lost. (Don't use name, that tells someone where the laptop lives.) Lastly, both of my students use backpacks that are not boring black etc. Having something distinctive seems to also discourage theft, and misplacing it, not just at school, but while traveling too.
Tell your son and his roommate to be super vigilant about locking the door. My son's roommate's laptop was stolen during the early days of school last year. He thinks there are people who take advantage of the confusion of that time.
Someone else mentioned insurance on parents' policy. There is also a very good student insurance that covers accidents and theft. I can't remember the name of the company, but could look it up if you are interested. So if someone spilled a drink on the laptop it would be covered, too.
I stop in this thread only to say how infuriating it is that Apple keeps producing laptops without Kensington lock slots under the ridiculous claim that the form factor can't support it (complete bs). It's such a gross, elitist nothing-can-possibly-get-stolen-from-our-customers attitude.
There is also a very good student insurance that covers accidents and theft. I can't remember the name of the company, but could look it up if you are interested. So if someone spilled a drink on the laptop it would be covered, too.
Yes, please. Let me know.
Be safe, shower with it.
Shower? I thought one didn't need to do that during the school year at this hippie school!
Your son should be fine, he should just keep the laptop on him at all times that he can(cs majors mostly do, although workin in the sun lab is far better than ssh), and if he is concerned just leave it in a backpack or a drawer in his room and no one will take it, get it registered as well. I'm sure a bunch of people will have that Mac book as well(not many fellow cs majors though!), and will leave it out in plain sight during parties and on weekends. I left a high quality pc laptop out during most parties in my room with some people I didn't know, and it never got taken, but I should probably be safer and just put it in a drawer.