Laptop Computer and Small Electronics Theft

Policy Summary

Faculty and staff in possession of university owned electronic devices are responsible for the protection of that equipment from theft or damage.  The high value and portability of laptop computers make them particularly susceptible to theft and require the highest degree of care.   Reimbursement to a department for a stolen university laptop computer or other small electronic device will only be considered if the laptop computer or electronic device is taken from a locked desk, cabinet, closet, or office, and there are signs of forced entry (i.e. burglary).

The purpose of this policy is to (1) alert faculty and staff of their responsibility to protect university property, (2) raise awareness of portable electronics theft, and (3) inform the university community regarding the criteria for reimbursement to a department for stolen laptop computers and small electronic devices. 

Who is Governed by this Policy

  • Staff
  • Faculty


Due to their high value and portability, laptop computers and other small electronic devices are highly susceptible to theft on university campuses, usually without any sign of forced entry.  

University employees who possess university owned laptop computers and other portable electronic devices are expected to secure them whenever they are left unattended.  Accordingly, the university will not reimburse a department for the loss of a laptop computer or other portable electronic device unless it is burglarized (i.e., taken from a locked desk, cabinet, closet, or office, and there are signs of forced entry thereto).  If a university owned laptop computer is burglarized, the following steps should be taken: 

  1. Immediately contact the GW Police Department and request that they file a report.   
  2. Contact the Office of Risk Management via webform so that a stolen property claim can be filed.  
  3. Contact the Division of IT Support Center (ITSC) to report the incident which will initiate a risk assessment by Information Security and Compliance Services.  


Small/Portable Electronic Devices: Electric or battery operated devices (e.g., laptop computers, electronic projectors, mini hard drives, portable music players, personal data assistants (PDAs), or cellular phones) which can be easily carried or moved. 


The Office of Risk Management: Electronic Theft 

Related Information


Contact Phone Number Email Address
GW Police 202-994-6110  [email protected]
Risk Management 202-994-3265  [email protected]
202-994-4948  202-994-4948  [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Assistant Vice President for Risk Management and Insurance
Responsible Office: Office of Risk Management

Noncompliance with this policy can be reported through this website.