Mobile Device Theft on the Rise at Schools, Universities

Common robbery at schools has increased by 10.51%, making schools and universities the second most frequent place mobile devices are stolen.

A new report that tracks mobile theft statistics found both pickpocketing and common robbery are on the rise at K-12 schools and college campuses.

The 2020 Mobile Theft and Loss Report, released by Prey, Inc., an open-source anti-theft software provider, found it is six times more likely that a device owner is pickpocketed at school or work than at a bar.

For educational institutions, from 2018 to 2019, pickpocketing grew by 6.37% to 17.58%. Common robbery at schools also increased by 10.51% to 17.65%, making schools and universities the second most frequent place for mobile robbery.

Additionally, the report found the stealing of mobile devices during home invasions and business break-ins have increased by 5.17% and 2.11%, respectively.

As for the location of these theft incidents, expectedly secure locations (homes, schools, offices) accounted for 65% and expectedly insecure locations (streets, malls, public transportation) accounted for the remaining 35%. As for the type of devices stolen, 77% were mobiles (phones, tablets), 18.51% were laptops and 4.49% were desktops.

According to Prey, the increase in robberies in seemingly secure locations is due to the comfort and security expectancy users have in these places, causing them to lower their attention and alertness.

The report warns of the newest threat: opportunists. These opportunists often include students who take devices from other students or former employees who refuse to turn in their device.

“After analyzing 2019’s recovery stories, and comparing them with the ones from the previous report, we identified a third actor who is ready to take your gadgets,” reads the report. “Opportunists are thieves, yes, but not the regular stereotype you’d find in a movie or tv series. They are people you know and share spaces with, and maybe even that you are comfortable with.”

The good news? You are more than two times more likely to lose your own device than have it stolen. At least you’ll only have yourself to blame — although sometimes that’s worse.

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