Keeping safe and secure in your student home
For many students, going to university means moving out of the family home for the first time. That’s an exciting prospect, of course, but the new responsibilities that emerge when you start living in a student home, away from Mum and Dad, can feel daunting too. Suddenly, your parents are no longer around to take care of everyday jobs from paying the bills to cleaning the kitchen.
One concern new to many students is home security. Here are seven tips to help you protect your house and possessions:
- On moving-in day, don’t encourage opportunist theft when you take your belongings into your new home. As you shuttle between your car and your room, leaving one or the other unattended, don’t leave the car boot or the front door open.
- If any door or window locks are damaged around the house, tell your landlord at once and make sure he or she commits to an immediate repair. Indeed, raise any security concerns with your landlord. Does that garden gate need a lock? Do you want an intruder alarm to be installed?
- Don’t make a burglar’s job simple by carelessly leaving doors and windows open or unlocked when you dash out of the house to a lecture (or the pub). Your housemates will not appreciate your irresponsibility. Remember, you might not be the person whose computer gets stolen by a passing thief. Don’t let burglars enter your home as easily as you do.
- Don’t tempt opportunist thieves by leaving valuable items in the garden (especially if your garden is not secured with a locked gate). Similarly, avoid leaving important items (such as keys) near windows, on the show to passers-by.
- If everybody else has gone out and you are studying in the back garden, remember to close doors and windows around the house. Open access points at the front or side of your house might not be in your line of sight but might be easily visible from the street.
- Don’t announce to the world that you and your housemates will be out tonight. You might remember reading of an attempted burglary at Wayne Rooney’s home on August 3 this year when the superstar footballer was playing in his testimonial match at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium. One can have nothing but sympathy for Rooney; he could hardly hide the fact he would be out of his house that night. Other people, however, inspire less sympathy. If you choose to reveal to criminals, via social media, that you and your housemates will all be at a party on Saturday night, you can hardly be surprised if local burglars take the opportunity to pay your empty home a visit.
- If you cycle around your university town, protect your bike against theft. The day will be ruined if you step back out of your lecture hall to find your bicycle has been stolen. Thieves can escape fast on the very bike they are stealing. Make sure your bicycle is locked to an immovable object, ideally away from public view, whenever out of your sight. Check bike racks. (Thieves have even been known to cut through a rack overnight and then conceal the sabotage with tape, fooling cyclists into locking their bikes to an apparently solid but actually broken rack.) According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of bicycle thefts in England and Wales has fallen by over 40% since 1995. Be vigilant, not complacent, and help to keep that downward trend going.
No one wants or deserves to be a victim of crime but some students take such a poor approach to security, and particularly home security, they are almost inviting thieves into their house. Look after your home and your possessions…and then relax and enjoy your life at university!