Student homes can be very susceptible to burglary, because opportunistic thieves often see these properties as being treasure troves with low security. Stereotypically, student accommodation is easy to get into, and once you are inside the property there is normally many pounds worth of gadgets up for grabs. If you want to reduce your chances of being targeted, you should take some basic steps to protect your personal property.
Before you move in…
When you are looking for a place to stay, consider the security features of the places that you are looking at. Ground floor flats are particularly vulnerable to break-ins. Before agreeing to move in, check that there are sturdy locks on the doors and windows. If the locks are substandard, discuss your concerns with the landlord or letting agent.
Some houses of multiple occupancy (as are used for students who want to flat share or house share) offer extra security to separate occupants by having individual locks on all of the bedrooms.
If you have extra security features, use them!
The locks and bolts on your doors and windows are there for a reason, so use them. Even if you are just going for a nap, or going into the back garden for a little while, you need to lock your doors and windows. Thieves are quick and quiet, and have been known to strike whilst people are actually at home, so don’t assume that you can leave the doors open, just because you are in. Thieves often strike when people get complacent, so it is essential that you maintain your security regime.
Keep your valuables out of sight
Leaving your valuables on show is akin to advertising your property to opportunist thieves. When you are out, leave your valuables out of sight and away from the windows. If your laptop, tablet or phone is sat on a desk near a downstairs window, a passerby can easily break the window, grab the goods and run away, all within a few seconds. Don’t make it this easy.
Likewise, don’t leave cash near an open window if your room is at street level; someone could grab it even if your back is only turned for a second. More tips on stopping thieves can be found here.
Although losing your keys is a worry, keeping a spare set near your house can be a bigger problem. Seasoned thieves know all of the most common hiding places, and they are likely to check there for keys. Flowerpot near the door? Check. Fake stone with hidden compartment? Check. Taped under the doorstep? Check. It will only take them a few minutes to hunt around, and if it is hidden somewhere near then they will use the keys to get in quickly and quietly. Worse still, if they use your spare keys to break in, your insurance may be invalidated, meaning that you can’t even claim for your lost items.
Be a cautious host
Whilst it may be fun to host huge house parties, you need to be careful about who attends and what they do whilst they are there.
If the party is advertised by open invitation on social media, then anyone may end up coming, including people who can’t be trusted. What is more, when a huge party spills out onto the street, anyone passing by can wander in. Nobody will challenge them at a big party, because they can pretend that they are just a friend of a friend. Even if they do not take anything at the time, they can take the opportunity to check out the layout of your home and the security features that you have.