Aside from the pressure of assignments and exams there is no doubting just how fun time spent at university can be. For many, going off to study will be the first time in their lives in which they’ve experienced this level of freedom but among all the excitement that comes with being a student is a need to be vigilant. In this article, the first of a two part series, we take a look at some essential security tips that if followed, should keep accommodation, possessions and personal well-being protected.
Never leave doors unlocked
It has been suggested that students are among the most vulnerable when it comes to the threat of theft. As students are rather frequently targeted it is extremely important for them to be as aware as possible of how to stay safe, especially given the levels of high-end gadgetry so popular with students. Minimising risk is all about getting into the right habits and one of the best places to start is at home. In student halls it is crucially important that a serious approach to safeguarding personal possessions. Always lock the door to rooms, regardless of whether you are leaving your accommodation for the weekend or are simply going to spend time in the communal area. Whether you are a fresher sharing halls accommodation or someone living in a student house further down the line, personal security is paramount and the first step towards achieving this to be vigilant around the home, eliminating opportunities for unwanted visitor from entering the property. The doors to student flats typically lock automatically when they are closed but do stay slightly ajar unless pushed fully, so be mindful of this. Keep your windows closed regardless of whether you are attending a lecture or leaving for a night out, and check the state of door locks when you first move in. If there is any issue with your locks then report it to the landlord or university accommodation officer immediately as faulty locks can invalidate any insurance you have for your possessions.
Make a mark on your possessions
You may well remember your parents putting your name on the label of your school uniform or your P.E. kit, and for good reason too. Some universities have a similar scheme in place in which personal possessions can be tagged with a UV marker to indicate your name, student ID and the university you attend. This is obviously a big help if anyone finds something you own but it can also make it a lot more difficult for a thief to sell the items on once stolen.
Obtain a secure parking space
Some students travel on public transport to their accommodation whereas others take their own car. If you fall into the latter camp then it is a wise idea to obtain a secure parking space for the year if you can. It goes without saying that parking your vehicle on the streets for an extended period of time, especially in big cities, leaves it at risk of a break-in or theft. Knowing that your car is stored away in an on-site parking space within your accommodation or in a secure car park close by provides peace of mind.
Taxis get a lot of business from students, especially at the beginning and end of nights out. When you arrive in the town or city you will be staying in during your time at university it is a good idea to have a phone number for reputable taxi firms. Stick to these companies and be certain that it is the taxi you ordered before you get in the car. It is also strongly advised that you have your key or card ready to get into your accommodation swiftly once you arrive back home.
Don’t go it alone when walking home at night
It is deemed much safer to get a taxi home at night but if you do decide to walk try to make sure that you have someone with you. Avoid darkened areas wherever possible, especially in unfamiliar surroundings and try and stay in full view of populated areas. It may even be worth considering taking some self-defence classes if you feel particularly vulnerable. While listening to music through headphones can help to pass time on a boring train journey it is not sensible when walking home in the dark. As rude as it may feel it is also wise not to respond if a passing car stops to ask for directions. Part two of our essential guide to student security will be making its way to these very pages at the same time next week, so be sure to come back and take a look. Until then though, stay safe.