Student homes are the perfect target for burglars. Every student will have their own tech, which means up to nine or ten laptops, smart phones, speakers, even TVs.
Typically, students aren’t the most security conscious and student houses aren’t always finished to the highest quality, which means that basic security principles go unheeded. Whether you’re a concerned parent or a student with home security on the mind, there are lots of tips and tricks to utilise to help prevent a burglary…
Most students live in halls in their first year of uni, usually in shared buildings or gated communities. It’s a fun time of meeting lots of new people, but it’s also a time when doors are left open for people to come and go.
The most important thing that you can do to prevent burglary is to make sure that you’re conscious of who you’re letting in the building. It’s a simple trick for a burglar to use, but sneaking in behind you as you’re walking in or telling you that they’re so-and-so’s friend is a well-known method of gaining entry. Be aware of who you’re giving out building codes to.
On a more personal level, locking your bedroom door every time you leave it will ensure that if anyone does gain access to the building, they can’t get access to your belongings.
Private rental properties are perfect for second- and third-year students – you’ve found some friends you trust and are happy to live with. You’re confident that you can do the living-away-from-home thing and can handle bills and other life admin. Most student properties are cheaply fitted out, and are unlikely to be very secure.
Before you settle on a property, try to think the same way that an intruder might. Is there a burglar alarm? Only 22%* of student homes have them fitted, making a burglar alarm a bonus, so make sure you ask the estate agent or landlord about this. Do the external doors or windows look like they could be easily forced? As previously mentioned, student homes aren’t known for their quality, making it easy for burglars to use weak entry points to get inside.
Once you’re all moved in, make an effort to get to know the neighbours. Not only will it help smooth things over when the occasional party gets too loud, but they will be able to help spot any suspicious behaviour.
Basic home security principles
There are some things that you can do as a student to make sure that the risk of your belongings being stolen is reduced, even if your house isn’t the most secure:
- Lots of burglaries occur because doors or windows are left open, so double-check that everything is locked before you leave the house, and always lock your bedroom door. Keep valuables hidden away, so any burglars looking for an excuse to break in will struggle to find anything of value!
- When it comes to new tech, be discreet. Don’t shove all your packaging and boxes outside, because it’ll alert everyone else to your new laptop. Instead, break the box up before recycling or put it out just before it’s due to get collected.
- Keep the outside of the property looking tidy. The more obvious it is that it’s a student house, the more likely it is that it’ll be targeted.
- If the house is completely empty for a period of time, perhaps over Christmas or a reading week, set the lights on a timer, and make sure anything valuable is stored safely.
Protecting your belongings
While it’s important to do everything you can to prevent burglary, you should think about what might happen if you do get burgled. The first thing you should do is get contents insurance. It might seem like an unnecessary cost, especially if you’re living on a student budget, but think about whether you’d be able to afford a new laptop, phone or TV if it got stolen. You could see whether your parents’ home contents policy could be extended to cover your belongings too.
You should also security mark your valuable items using UV security pen, and register them with Immobilise, the UK national property register. This means that if your belongings get stolen, they’re more likely to be returned to you if they fall into police hands.
If you’re concerned
If you’re feeling vulnerable, then there are several products in particular that could help put your mind at rest:
- Alarm kit – a smart home alarm system, like this one from ABUS, is a great way for the security conscious to feel more at ease. It’s expensive, but it’s worth the investment, especially if you take it with you when you move. They can be paired with door sensors, so you know when someone is in your room.
- Camera – a Wi-Fi camera, like this Yale Smart Living Camera, does something similar, and is a less costly option. It would be perfect to set up in your room to catch any unsuspecting burglars (or sneaky housemates!).
Finally, if you’re still not happy, consider checking in with your university police liaison.
*Stats from MoneySupermarket.com
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