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Friday, January 12, 2007

Tight security at Columbia Tower

posted by on January 12 at 10:57 AM

I’m sitting at the Tully’s at Columbia Tower, working on my laptop. I just walked two steps over to chat with the guys at the next table when I got scolded by a balding British security guard. He said, “Excuse me ma’am,” (it sounded like Marm in his thick accent) “don’t step away from your computer.” I hardly think a thief could heist my iBook when I’m inches away. But, he said, there have been a lot of laptop swipings in the building of late. Now I’m paralyzed. I want to get coffee, but I don’t want to pack up all my stuff to go all the way over to the cashier, like 15 steps away. I’m fearful that the city is turning into one giant airport in terms of security.

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He's right though. I used to work in two of the buildings near there (IDX Tower and Bank of America Plaza) and there was either ONE guy casing those blocks for lap tops or else it was a group of people. Either way, a lot of lap tops went missing and my boss actually CHASED a purse snatcher for several blocks. Meanwhile, the "security" guards stood by and gawked and talked into their radios. So at least the Columbia Tower guy is actually doing some facet of his job.

Posted by Baxter | January 12, 2007 11:06 AM

their = there

Posted by The Spelling Nazi | January 12, 2007 11:07 AM

really, only an idiot would leave their laptop unatended down there.

(works mornings in the building).. and that guard is from scotland.. he's a nice guy.

Posted by seattle98104 | January 12, 2007 11:17 AM

Security only exists in the minds of those with delusions that there is such a thing.

You can choose to live in Fear.

Or you can be an American and refuse to live in Fear.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 12, 2007 11:18 AM

oy. will ...

angela next time try an experiment, when the guard isn't around, empirically test the maximum distance needed between the owner and a laptop before a would be thief swipes it.

granted TCC may not be westlake center, but you wouldn't leave your laptop unatended in that foodcourt.. or would you?

Posted by seattle98104 | January 12, 2007 11:22 AM

Perhaps he was more worried about someone doing an imposter SLOG post in your name while you were away!

Posted by longball | January 12, 2007 11:34 AM

For the next time you would like to leave your laptop for a minute I would suggest an investment in a laptop cable lock, (a bit troublesome but easier than having to pack it up to grab another cup o java), or even a laptop alarm that will emit a loud alarm when the laptop is moved.

Laptops are tempting targets, not just for the hardware itself, but often for the personal information kept in them.

Posted by Pack | January 12, 2007 11:37 AM

A stolen laptop is a bigger deal in that part of town:

Computer hackers create some of the mischief by circumventing high-tech firewalls, but 58 percent of the breaches recorded by California officials have occurred after a computer or other device containing personal information is lost or stolen, McNabb said.
I say good for him for paying attention.

Posted by charles | January 12, 2007 11:43 AM

There's a big differnce between the "security state" (the growth of which both annoys and alarms me) and a security guard warning you to not leave your valuable stuff unattended. People steal stuff all the time, and when they do, the rightful owners frequently come back and yell at the building for "lack of security"

I worked at the Sheraton for a while, and one time we actually had a thief who had stolen a 24" TV from a meeting room trying to sell it to the cab drivers who were parked out front of the hotel. That was before laptops. I can just imagine how lucrative the fencing operations are now.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | January 12, 2007 12:01 PM

ok, good argument, catalina. Me, I go for the high-end HDTV 50 inch sets.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 12, 2007 12:16 PM

This was before HDTV, Will. It was either that or an overhead projector ;-)

Posted by catalina vel-duray | January 12, 2007 12:23 PM

The OHPs are too big.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 12, 2007 1:10 PM

lol. I worked at WWU ... and LCD projectors we're swiped from hi-tech optical alarmed mounts all the time. thieves who know what they are doing, want your laptop and if you leave it for a second they'll take it.

this has nothing to do with a police state, airport security, et. al.

Posted by seattle98104 | January 12, 2007 1:37 PM
Posted by charles | January 12, 2007 1:45 PM

i'm a projector. fucking hell.

Posted by seattle98104 | January 12, 2007 1:50 PM

I work in the building, the Ulster Scots dude is sort of new and a little uptight, and a wee paranoid, but over all a nice guy. I use to think he was Australian. I doubt that there is a surge in laptop thefts in the building. The tenants would have heard. If you look half way suspicious you get quietly followed around. Hell, I use to until they figured out I worked here. We get Memos everytime something happens. Once a dude was going around flashing somebody on the 33rd floor and they had pics of him. They have cameras EVERYWHERE. My guess: He was hitting on u.

Posted by SeMe | January 12, 2007 2:48 PM

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