If you’re starting college or university this year, firstly, good for you! Further education is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and meet new people, whilst gaining skills and knowledge that could be crucial to your career later in life.
However, with moving out, freshers week, and lots of new places and faces, it’s not surprising that security can often take a back seat when it comes to beginning your studies.
Unfortunately though, students are considered to be a high risk group, with 1 in 5 students falling victim to crime during their time at college or uni*, which is slightly less shocking when you consider that:
- students on average are likely have more valuables per head than other groups (ie. laptops, tablets, smart phones, games consoles, jewellery).
- It’s not uncommon for students to take a very lax attitude towards locking doors, keeping keys safe etc.
- Forming lots of new friendships, students are likely to be more welcoming and more trusting of new people, allowing them into their home or to use their things.
Fear not though! There are a few simple rules that you can follow to reduce your likelihood of being targeted, both during your time as a student and long after you graduate!
On the day of the move it can be extremely tempting to leave your door unlocked when coming and going, especially if you’re running up and down the stairs more than a few times. Don’t bow to it! It’s possible that someone may have seen you carrying things into your new home, and if they see something that they like, and they see an opportunity to take it, a burglar wouldn’t hesitate to do so. Be sure to lock up all doors and windows every time you leave the house, no matter how long you’re going to be.
It’s also likely that you’ll have bought some new bits and bobs to take with you to your new home (you may have invested in a new TV or laptop for example). When it comes to disposing of the packaging, it’s best not to leave the box on display outside of your house, as this essentially advertises the contents of your home to passers-by, like a burglary menu! Instead, make sure that boxes are taped with the pictures facing inside to avoid attracting any attention.
Caring for Valuables
Valuables such as jewellery, watches & tech devices are a favoured target for thieves because of their high demand and monetary value. But for students, laptops, tablets, smartphones etc hold much more value than just in the monetary sense. Most rely heavily on tech to to complete & store assignments that may be crucial to their course. -All the more reason to take extra care (and always back up your files!).
One of the first things you should consider is property marking, so that if by chance any of your valuables do go missing, you’ll have a better chance of getting them back. You can purchase clear UV sprays or pens to do this which are relatively cheap, and could save you a lot of money in the long run! If that doesn’t sound like your thing, you can log your possessions immobilise.com, linking details about them to your contact information, so that the police know who to contact if your things are ever handed in.
It’s also a good idea to consider using a lock on your bag or backpack, so that people can’t get into it when you’re not looking. This is particularly helpful if you use public transport or walk through crowded areas on your way to lessons.
On a night out with friends, it can be easy to get carried away and let your guard down with regard to safety and security. Thankfully though, by setting (and sticking to!) a few simple ground rules, you can reduce the risk of your night being spoiled by something unexpected.
Firstly, always try to stay in a group. If one of your friends has a few too many, make sure that they get home safely and aren’t left on their own. Remember, if you look out for your them, then they’re more likely to look out for you!
When the fun’s over and it comes to heading home, always make sure that you use a reputed, fully licensed taxi company; never accept a lift home from a stranger. If you decide to make your way home on foot, make sure you’re always with a friend and stick to well lit areas and main roads.
Lastly, if you’re afraid of losing your door key on a night out, please resist the temptation to hide a spare under a doormat or a plant pot! This is the oldest trick in the book and, unfortunately, criminals are definitely wise to it. Instead, consider investing in a lockable keysafe; these are relatively cheap to buy and ensure that your spare key is kept out of the wrong hands. -Just make sure that you can remember the code!
*[Source] The National Union of Students