Statistics show that one in five students fall victim to crime while studying at college or university, with the average break-in costing £900 to repair the damage and replace belongings. With this in mind, lock company Yale has put together these top five crime prevention tips to help you avoid becoming a student statistic.
1. 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.
2. Protect your valuables
Computers, cash, electrical goods and jewellery 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 jewellery, 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.
3. 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).
4. Nights out
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, licenced 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.
5. Social security
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.
So remember, work hard and play hard this term – but remember to stay safe and secure.