In what’s often the chaotic rush to get stuck into university life and enjoy every minute of it, something that often goes overlooked in the case of so many students is basic safety and security. The simple fact of the matter is that while most student housing in Newcastle for example is generally safer and more secure than it has ever been, absolutely nothing is guaranteed and nor should things be left to chance.
The trouble is, when a fair few students move into university accommodation for the first time they subconsciously believe that certain things like safety and security are the responsibilities of other people. After all, it isn’t their building and nor is it technically their home, so it’s somewhat inevitable that attitudes toward security will to some extent become diluted. And this is exactly why student residences often tend to be firm favourites for petty criminals and crooks – opportunists who know exactly how to find an open door and use it to benefit at the expense of others.
So with all of the above in mind, what follows is a quick introduction to just a few simple tips from the country’s leading security experts on how to protect what’s yours when living in student accommodation:
- First of all, make sure that both the front and rear external doors of the building are fitted with high quality locks that are in good condition and have clearly been replaced within the last ten a years or so. It is technically the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the locks are effective and in good working order, but it is still important to carry out your own checks.
- Take the time to walk around the building both inside and out in order to take note of what you believe to be any apparent security weaknesses. From cracked windows to doors that are left open and any other ways and means by which intruders could enter the building, carry out a little investigation work and speak to your landlord about anything you find.
- Never forget that the vast majority of intruders breaking into homes and properties in general do so via the windows rather than the doors. As such, it’s also important to look around the property and inspect the windows to ensure that they are fully secured and fitted with appropriate locks to ensure that they cannot be opened from the outside. If you come across any windows that are not secured or any locks which are not functioning properly, you need to bring it to the attention of your landlord as soon as possible.
- When living in a shared accommodation or halls of residence, it is extremely easy to fall into a false sense of security when it comes to safety and security in general. You trust your neighbours, you have a good bond with pretty much everyone in the building and there’s a secure entry system downstairs – precisely how you fall into the habit of leaving your door unlocked. Unfortunately, it takes only one intruder to find their way into the building and have a field day with each and every unlocked door therein, so don’t take these kinds of unnecessary chances.
- The same also applies to the storage of anything you have in your room which you’d consider in any way invaluable or would prefer not to have stolen. The more visible and easily accessible your valuables are, the more likely they are to be swiped should the unthinkable happen and somebody finds their way into your room.
- Never under any circumstances make the mistake of leaving spare keys for friends or family members anywhere near your accommodation. The simple fact of the matter is that regardless of how cleverly you think you are hiding the key, you will never come up with a hiding place the criminals are not 100% familiar with. This really is one of the worst things you can do in terms of security, so don’t do it!
- If you are going to be away from your student accommodation for any given period of time, be sure to let your friends and neighbours know when you are leaving and when you will be back. Not only will this prompt them to keep an eye on the place for you, but should they hear or see anything going on in the place while you’re not there, they’ll know it’s not you and can raise the alarm.
- Last but not least, perhaps the single biggest enemy when it comes to security in the instance of university accommodation is booze…as in too much of the stuff. When and where you return home after a heavy night, the likelihood of you falling into an incredibly deep sleep without locking or even closing your door properly skyrockets. And once again, opportunist criminals know exactly where and when to strike to give themselves the easiest ride possible.