Now that September is here, are you or is someone close to you leaving home to go to University?
Whether you’re getting packed and ready to go, or are all ready moved in and preparing for lectures, have you given any thought to the security of your new student house or halls of residence?
The National Union of Students has the following questions to ask yourself about your student accommodation!
Does the house seem secure from the outside?
Think about how you would get in if you lost your keys, if it’s easy for you then think how easy it is for a potential intruder.
Does the property have an alarm?
If not, could you/the landlord install one? Alarms act as an excellent form of deterrent, with research showing 84% of imprisoned burglars would avoid a home with a working alarm.
Does the front/back door look solid and secure?
Typically, burglars spend just sixty seconds breaking into a home and that’s not surprising considering how easy it often is. In 73% of cases they gained entry via a door, and in 3% of these cases the door was left open. Ideally doors should be secured using a mortice lock and / or nightlatch that meets British Standard BS3621.
Are the windows secure?
Check to see if all the windows are fitted with secure locks and that the handles are in good working order, particularly on the ground floor.
Is there adequate outside lighting?
Ask yourself would you feel secure entering your house at any time of day. It’s important to feel safe and secure so you can enjoy your time at university.
According to the National Union of Students, the average break in costs students around £900 to replace belongings and repair any damage.
With this in mind they have provided some fantastic crime prevention tips for your time at University:
Don’t give burglars an open invitation
Opportunist thieves often target student halls and houses, as bedroom and flat doors are often left unlocked or ajar, making it a quick in-and-out job for a burglar. Avoid any unwanted visitors making their way into your home by remembering to close and lock all doors and windows whenever you’re not in – even if you’re only popping out for five minutes.
Another tip is to avoid leaving notes on your door saying you’re away or ‘back soon’ – instead tell your friends face-to-face so they can act as an unofficial student watch while you’re out.
Protect your valuables
Computers, cash, electrical goods and jewelry are among the most commonly stolen items in domestic burglaries and, as a result of the nation’s love for gadgets, the average cost of a burglary has risen by 40 per cent over the last three years. However, 21 per cent of people say they never hide valuables when leaving the house, with 37 per cent leaving portable gadgets such as e-books or tablets easily accessible.
To protect smaller valuable items and reduce the risk of fraud, use a home safe. This can be used for items such as jewelry, small electronic gadgets and important documents. The safe should be bolted securely to a floor or wall so it can’t be stolen but remember to check with your landlord before making any alterations to your property.
Cycling to lectures?
Bikes are an ideal way to get around campus or student towns. They are convenient and great exercise but, unfortunately, thieves like them too. To keep your bike safe and secure it’s advisable to invest in a sturdy bike lock. For maximum protection, use two different locks simultaneously (a D-lock and robust chain and padlock is ideal).
Hitting the town
Personal safety also needs to be high on the agenda. After evenings out sampling the local nightlife try to travel home with friends or in a reputable, licensed taxi – remember, there is safety in numbers! If you do walk home, try to stick to main roads and avoid poorly lit areas – especially dodgy looking shortcuts and dingy alleyways. For additional security and peace of mind it’s also a good idea to carry a personal attack alarm.
In this age of social media, many of us are used to posting all manner of details online without a second thought. ‘Checking in’ at places online can alert burglars to the fact you are not at home, and posting images of new and expensive items can also be risky.
In any other capacity you wouldn’t dream of alerting a burglar to the fact your house is empty and you certainly wouldn’t tell them that you have a brand new laptop sat in your bedroom. Be careful about what you are sharing online and check your settings to ensure that you are only sharing status updates with people you know and trust.
By remembering these great hints and tips, you can relax and enjoy your time at University, knowing you have done all that you can to stay secure!