It’s that time of year again! The stuffed suitacases have been dropped off, emotional parents have said goodbye, and leery teenagers are getting to know each other in debaucherous ways. Yes, it’s Freshers week at Universities all across the UK. But with all of the excitement of meeting new people and getting to know a new town, it can sometimes hit hard that you’ve abandoned the protective bubble of home. For parents expecially, the prospect of leaving their children to fend for themselves in a different town can be a daunting one. Luckily, keeping a few student security tips in mind can help keep you and your property safe.
Whilst we wouldn’t want to overstate the danger of leaving for Uni, it’s important to remember that students can often be an all-too tempting target for burglars and thieves. In fact, a 2012 survey of students carried out by an insurance company suggested that one in 6 students are a victim of theft at some point in their studies- that’s a 17% chance of your belongings being targeted. So we can see it’s important to know some simple tips for keeping your property secure whilst out and about or in accommadation:
- Take care while out on the town. According to the same survey, the most frequent place for thefts to occur was (unsuprisingly) while students were out in pubs and clubs. Don’t take anything out with you that won’t need (you really don’t need those Beats studio headphones in a pub…), and don’t leave anything out on the bar or on a table. One good tip is to take out your cash for a night out during the day, so you won’t need to use a crowded cashpoint in the town centre. This is also a great way of limiting how much you spend!
- Look after your phone! By far and away the most common item to have stolen were mobile phones, making up a massive 48% of items targeted for theft. Be careful where you use it, and make sure you never leave it unguarded in an open bag.
- Close your windows and doors. Roughly a quarter of items were stolen from private accommadation, and (according to a 2007 survey at Leeds Uni), 57% of these thefts were due to occupants leaving a door or window open for burglars to let their way in. Many of these types of crimes are actually opportunist, so don’t let yourself be a victim and lock those windows! If any of your locks are faulty, be sure to let your landlord know immediately, as it is their responsibility to make sure the property is up to scratch.
- Don’t display your things. Burglars are more likely to target a property if they know there is something worth stealing inside. Because of this, it’s important to keep any valuable items like laptops or games consoles in locations where they are not visible to passersby. Nothing tempts a burglar like a shining Apple logo beaming from a windowsill!
- Be alert when at halls. Living in accommodation on campus is generally far more secure, with only 16% of thefts happening here. Nevertheless, it’s important to be vigilent, and let security know if you see any non-residents suspiciously hanging around in halls.
- Set up a camera for your room. If you want to be as secure as possible, it can be a good idea to set up a camera to monitor your room. Something like a pan tilt IP camera can be viewed live over a mobile device when you’re on the other side of campus. For more discreet security, you can get a covert battery powered recorder, and easily conceal it on a desk or bookshelf. Note however, you can only set up cameras to view your own room, not any public areas.