Four security tips for your first student houseFeature of the week
Students are one of the most vulnerable demographic groups in the UK. Over a third of young people attending university will fall victim to crime during their degree, the majority of these incidences are criminal damage and theft.
One of the largest factors contributing to student vulnerability is their dependence on technology. Whether for study or leisure, these items are non-negotiable. At least 85% of students own a laptop, and almost all of them arrive at university with a high-value phone. However, they are often left in unoccupied student houses for large portions of the day and night. This, unfortunately, is a very inviting prospect for burglars.
For the vast majority of people, their first university house or flat will also be their first taste of independent life. Unfortunately, the excitement involved means many potential issues with security often slip under the radar. This is especially true when you consider that some features of a property can render the inhabitants much more vulnerable without them even knowing. For example, Carter Security’s garden security tips reveal that houses “concealed behind shrub screens are more likely to be targeted by burglars”.
Here are a few tips no student should go to university without:
Notify your landlord of weak locks or doors on day one
34% of burglars break into a home by forcing their way through the front door. If you live on a quiet or poorly lit street, then ensuring your property is secured with a reinforced entry door is paramount.
There are a couple of key security features your front door should have, including deadbolt locks, a solid door jamb and strong, shield enforced hinges. Ask your landlord or estate agent during the viewing if these features are in place and in good condition. Reinforcing a front door does not have to be expensive or difficult, many of the high security features can be fitted without professional assistance.
If you are concerned about the security of your front door, consider external motion sensitive or flood lighting on the porch area. This will deter burglars from approaching and trying to force entry.
Look after your house keys
Shared housing has many security benefits, but one of the disadvantages is that the more keys there are to a property, the weaker the security. Ensuring that everyone keeps hold of their house keys at all times is a difficult task, especially given the busy work and social schedules of the average student.
Every year thousands of domestic properties are broken into not by forced entry, but by using house keys found under doormats and inside nearby plant pots. This is a habit you should avoid at all costs, it won’t take a burglar long to find and it will only take them ten minutes to clear out your home.
Never write your address on a keyring. If you are concerned about losing them attach a contact number.
Securing your house over the holidays
One of primary reasons students are such a targeted demographic is because of the long periods of time when their houses are left empty. Once everyone is home for the holidays there is very little they can do to protect their property.
As with any property being left vacant for an extended period of time, making sure all windows, locks and side gates are closed and locked is vital. An extra precaution student tenants can consider are lighting schedule bulbs which flicker on and off just as they would if someone were home.
By taking home your valuable possessions you leave nothing to chance.
Mark your property
Students are often all too eager to share their new purchases and favourite gadgets online. However, this can can invite unwanted attention from unsavoury characters and make you a target for crime. As Banham point out, this is just one of many security issues with online oversharing – risks that students, more than anyone, need to be aware of.
UV ink is a really effective way of marking up your valuables so that if they are ever stolen in a burglary then can be identified and returned. Smart Water pens also rub UV ink onto skin so that criminals can be easily identified.
Resisting the urge to share on social media, and keeping valuables hidden from view when you are out of the house is also excellent security practice.
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