It’s a sad, though not entirely surprising, fact that student homes are some of the commonest targets for burglars. Here’s how to make sure yours isn’t one of them.
Students own more small, expensive and easily sold consumer items like phones, MP3 players, cameras and laptops and a student house of five is likely to contain five of each.
If you’re careful you won’t be an easy target. For a start, you don’t have to bring everything to your new home – leave some stuff behind Keeping windows and doors secure is an absolute must. If you live in halls, lock your door whenever you leave your room, even if you’re only going down the corridor.
It doesn’t take long to run in and pick up a mobile phone or MP3 player. If you live on the ground floor of student halls you have to be extra careful about windows to avoid opportunistic thieves.
Friends and acquaintances will be coming and going at all hours of the day so don’t forget to check that all doors and windows are shut and locked, especially if you have been drinking or are going out. If your accommodation has shared access, be careful who you let in to the communal areas and always be wary of people following you in.
Never let strangers in without checking they are who they say they are, reputable trades people will carry ID and won’t mind being asked to show it. If you are in any doubt, don’t let them in.
When renting a house check the locks before you move in. Pay equal attention to both front and back doors. A high percentage of break-ins are through back doors as they are often less secure. If you aren’t totally confident in their security, you’re within your rights to ask your landlord to install some deadbolts.
Most insurance companies specify that, to make a successful claim, you must have a lock on your bedroom door, even if you are in a shared house. If you don’t have internal locks or adequate security, tell your landlord – you are entitled to decent home security. If you have outside space make sure fences and gates are secure before you move in.
Keep expensive stuff out of sight and shut your curtains when you go out. If you buy new expensive items break the packaging down and take it to the tip, don’t leave it in or by your bin and advertise to potential thieves.
Make a note of serial numbers and keep receipts in case you need to make a claim. Expensive or valuable items should be kept well hidden in a safe place if you don’t want to risk losing them. If there are alleyways to the rear of your property make sure they are kept locked.
You need to take extra care during holidays as student areas are often targeted during these times. If you can, take all of your valuables home with you and leave as little as possible in the house. It’s also worth leaving lights or a radio on a timer so it seems like you are in. Finally, always make sure your possessions are insured. If the worst happens you’ll need to replace your stuff. Many insurance companies offer student rates so shop around.
Locking your doors and windows may not be something you think about immediately when you’re in or out of your home. Many properties these days are fitted with UPVC doors, which in many cases don’t lock instantly when closed with the handle. In Liverpool we run a year round campaign called ‘Now Lock Your Door’ to remind students to simply to your front or back door even when you are in. Opportunist burglars will see an unlocked door as invitation to visit!