Away-from-home: Security for Students!

Stay Secure whilst you’re Studying away from Home

Whether you are starting your first year at university or returning for another year of hard work and studying it is important to ensure that you take all the necessary precautions to stay secure in your new accommodation. This may be the first time you have lived away from your home, or have lived in a shared house/flat.

Starting or just returning to university can be an exciting time for anyone and it is not unusual for important tasks to get overlooked especially when it comes to being secure in your new accommodation.

Student accommodation/halls are often an easy target for a burglar as there will be a large number of electronic goods such as smart phones, games consoles, tablets and laptops located in one place.

 

Tips to stay secure whilst you’re studying

Leaving home to study can be both a stressful and an exciting time for anyone. The last thing on your mind would probably be the security of your new student house and ensuring that the valuables you bring with you are safe and secure.

For you and your parent’s peace of mind it is definitely worth evaluating the security of your new accommodation and taking any necessary precautions to protect you and your fellow housemates from a break-in.

Follow these simple steps to help you stay secure during your time at university:

  • Check the lock on your front door and bedroom door when moving in.

  • If you notice the lock is faulty alert campus staff or your landlord immediately so that it can be replaced as soon as possible. Ensure a lock that adheres to any home insurance policies is used as failure to do so could run the risk of invalidating yours or your landlord’s policy.

  • Always lock your doors and windows even if you are just popping out.

  • Ask your parents to check whether their home insurance policy covers student contents.

  • Mark any valuables you take to University with you such as laptops, tablets or TVs with a UV pen.

 

Whilst you are off making memories and creating new experiences, we’ve put together some tips for you to remember to keep you safe and help you enjoy your fresher’s week!

 

  1. Explore the campus and surrounding areas

You’ve just moved in and have met the people you are going to live with for the next year; and no doubt you’ll all want to explore.  When doing so, make sure your getting a better grasp of your surroundings. Think of land marks that could help you find your way around such as large trees to help you find your way. This will really help when it gets darker and during your first couple days where you might find it more confusing to get around.

 

  1. Travel in packs

There is always safety in numbers, especially in an area you are new to. Not only will being in a group help with making new friends but you can all look out for one another whilst still having fun. Extra people who might remember the way home, a cheaper taxi fare and an increase in safety are just some of the reasons to stick to groups. We recommend travelling in groups no smaller than 3 as that way you will have 2 other people to watch your back.

 

  1. Know how you can get home

Have a look at the transport options available in your new city; know where taxi ranks and bus stops might be for you to get home. Whenever you go out, whether it is on a night out or just down to the shops knowing how you could get home will always keep you safer and more alert.

A top tip for fresher’s parties is to program a taxi service number into your phone before you go out so that you don’t have to worry about trying to find a taxi or calling round. You can easily get it up on your phone and get home safely. If you know what time you will be leaving, you can always book one in advance too.

 

  1. Eat plenty and know your limits

During fresher’s week there are bound to be some events that include alcohol, we won’t preach to not drink but rather drink responsibly. Make sure to eat plenty before going to one of these events and make sure that you know your limits; try and drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink and recognise when you should stop. You wouldn’t want to ruin your night by ending up too drunk on the side of the road – especially when you’re with people you don’t know as well.

 

  1. Keep an eye on your drink

Pubs, clubs and events can become very crowded with many people in a small case. Remain alert and cautious with the possibility of your drink being spiked or at the very least keep an eye out to prevent your drink being swiped!

The basic things to remember with drinks on a night out are;

  • Don’t accept a drink that you haven’t seen be made

  • Don’t accept a drink from a stranger

  • When you put down your drink, it’s best not to pick it up again

  • Place a napkin or coaster over your drink to stop ‘drive by’ spiking

 

  1. Make sure your phone is fully charged

In this day and age, our phones can be our lifelines. No doubt you’ll be taking yours to document your night, text new friends and take great photos. The important thing to check is that your phone is fully charged and has data before going out. Potentially you will be calling a taxi, getting an address and checking in with people at the end of the night so you want to make sure you’re prepared.

 

  1. Student Accommodation Security

You are sharing a flat or house with people that you potentially haven’t met so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Best practise is to always lock your doors and windows when you leave your room and don’t leave any valuables in sight where people passing might see them. If you are in student halls, for safety reasons you should never let in strangers into the building; the polite thing to do would be to hold the door open for someone behind you but you don’t know who you’re letting in to the building and what intentions they might have.

With privately rented accommodation you should always check that all the locks are in working order and have been changed after the previous tenants have moved out. When you move in you should take a look around the property to make sure that all the doors, locks and windows are working and that there are no obvious wears and tears to the property.

This will help to make recovery easier if the worse did happen. Some universities operate a property registration or ultra-violet marking scheme.

  • Keep all valuables out of sight of any doors or windows to ensure they can’t be seen by any passersby.
  • Don’t leave any spare keys under a door mat or flower pot. By leaving a spare key in an easily discovered hiding place you can run the risk of leaving your student accommodation vulnerable to a break-in. Did you know that over 20% of Britons still leave their set of keys hidden in the garden despite it being a high security risk?
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