Since last November, 105 laptops have been stolen from houses in the city centre. New cases are reported to the police every day. The Maastricht police says that about 45 per cent of the thefts are made from student buildings.
The thieves do not just strike at night but also in broad daylight, says local policeman Paul Vermin. “Sometimes the other inhabitants of the student house are actually in the building.” In general, it is not very difficult for criminals. “In many cases, laptops are on display through the window. The perpetrator only needs to break the glass and the laptop that contains your thesis is gone. We regularly see in the reports that the communal front door was open, or that the hinges and locks were in bad condition.”
Vermin doesn't stop telling students that they should put their laptops out of sight, even if they leave their rooms for only a few moments to buy bread. "And I don’t want to be pedantic but reliable hinges and locks would prevent a lot of problems. It would be a good thing if students approached their landlords about this matter. Another tip: close the curtains in the evening.” The stolen goods – many criminals turn out to be drug addicts – are sold on for a handful of euros, Vermin says. “We ask anyone who may have seen something, to inform us. However small or trivial it may seem. It may help us find the offender.”
In March 2009, the police also reported on laptops stolen from student houses.