Safety Savvy Student’s Guide to Security

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So, you’ve been accepted into university? Congratulations! You’re no doubt excited for the infamous fresher’s week and excited for what the next few years have in store. But while you’re checking out your new city on your iPhone, and packing your MacBook, iPad, speakers and everything else you need for your new home – take a second to think about how you plan to keep your worldly possessions safe once you’re at uni.

A recent study found that 1 in 4 students are burgled whilst at university, with a whopping £25 million lost to thieves. That’s the equivalent of 31,289 iPhone 8’s! But taking a few small precautions can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your things safe.

Dr Steffan George, Managing Director of the Master Locksmiths Association – the leading trade association for the locksmithing profession – gives his advice on what you can do to ensure your belongings are as safe and secure as possible in your new student accommodation.

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“It’s well known that most students have high value items such as laptops, tablets and gaming equipment. This, in addition to the fact that most student houses are occupied by at least four people, means students are one of the most at-risk groups in the country when it comes to crime. But by being security aware and making a few small changes, students can do a lot to reduce the risks.

“When moving into the property, make sure check with your landlord when the locks were last changed and ask for a list of authorised key holders for the property including, estate agents and property maintenance companies. Some properties will have patented keys which can’t be copied without proof of ownership, but if that is not the case, locks should be changed every year. Ask your landlord to arrange for a professional locksmith to visit the property but be sure to check their credentials. The MLA is recognised by the Police as the authoritative body for locksmithing and all of our members undergo strict vetting and inspections, so you can be confident they work to a high standard and offer value for money. Many MLA locksmiths will also be able to perform a complete security assessment free of charge.”

Despite the higher crime rates in student areas compared to others, by following the steps below, you can minimise the risk of burglary and break-ins and protect

Dr Steffan George, Managing Director of the Master Locksmiths Association – the leading trade association for the locksmithing profession – gives his advice on what you can do to ensure your belongings are as safe and secure as possible in your new student accommodation.

“It’s well known that most students have high value items such as laptops, tablets and gaming equipment. This, in addition to the fact that most student houses are occupied by at least four people, means students are one of the most at-risk groups in the country when it comes to crime. But by being security aware and making a few small changes, students can do a lot to reduce the risks.

“When moving into the property, make sure check with your landlord when the locks were last changed and ask for a list of authorised key holders for the property including, estate agents and property maintenance companies. Some properties will have patented keys which can’t be copied without proof of ownership, but if that is not the case, locks should be changed every year. Ask your landlord to arrange for a professional locksmith to visit the property but be sure to check their credentials. The MLA is recognised by the Police as the authoritative body for locksmithing and all of our members undergo strict vetting and inspections, so you can be confident they work to a high standard and offer value for money. Many MLA locksmiths will also be able to perform a complete security assessment free of charge.”

Despite the higher crime rates in student areas compared to others, by following the steps below, you can minimise the risk of burglary and break-ins and protect

  1. Take a look around

When you get to your halls / house-share, take some time to take a good look around the property and familiarise yourself with emergency exits and passcodes for any security keypads that may be in place on entrances. Your landlord / estate agent should provide you with an inventory upon moving in which can be used as a base to discuss any security concerns you may have about the property. Check the condition of locks and window panes. Damaged locks can attract burglars and invalidate insurance, so make a detailed list of everything that needs to be repaired or replaced and inform the landlord straightaway. 

  1. Ask who has keys

If you’re moving into a house with your mates, chances are you’re not the only ones to have lived there. With some shared houses homing up to 8 people at a time, that’s 80 people in the past 10 years who have had keys to your new home (not to mention tradesmen and estate agents who may have also made copies) and not all may have handed them back in. If locks are damaged or worn, landlords may install new ones which should be of a good quality with patented keys that can’t be copied without proof of ownership.

  1. Watch out for tailgating

A high proportion of theft in student areas is due to walk-ins, with burglars simply ‘tailgating’ by entering a halls of residence or student housing immediately after you – be aware of your surroundings and if you feel you are being followed don’t go home, contact the police and report the incident.

  1. Keep doors and windows locked

OK, this is a REALLY obvious one, but it is amazing just how many students have one too many Jägerbombs, roll in at 3am, and forget to lock the door behind them. Don’t wake up with a hangover and no phone to order a cure via Deliveroo, just remember to lock your door behind you!

  1. Put a lock on your bedroom door

You’re reading this article, so you clearly have some sense. Unfortunately, your flat mates may not. If you find yourself living with unreliable people, who regularly leave windows and doors open and host ‘all you can steal’ burglar deals – then you may need to take action into your own hands. In houses of multiple occupancy, it’s a good idea to get a lock fitted on your bedroom door – for that little bit extra security. If you don’t already have one, you can ask your landlord if they can fit one for you, but it should be a high-quality lock that allows you to get out without a key. As a precaution, make sure to also make a note of serial numbers of electronic items and identity mark them.

  1. On your bike, burglars

If you’re all about avoiding traffic and helping the environment, then you may have a bike. Unfortunately, thieves love bikes so be sure to invest in a good quality bike lock, which you should thread through the front wheel and around the bike frame, before being locked to an immovable object. Visit the Sold Secure website where you can find high quality, approved security products which will withstand attempted burglaries far better than their cheaper counterparts.

  1. Get lit

Love going out but find getting your key into your front door, in the dark, turns into a crystal maze challenge? Get a security light. This will help you gain entry much quicker while you balance your maccies and your slightly worse for wear best mate as you open your front door. It will also provide that little bit of extra security as well-lit areas help deter thieves and make you more visible in the dark. If you’re strapped for cash, purchase a battery powered push light which can be stuck to the wall next to your lock.

  1. Don’t advertise for window-shopping thieves

Thieves love nothing more than a good browse for expensive stuff, so make sure you put items such as laptops, tablets and games consoles away before leaving for the day or a night out. Alternatively, if you’re in a rush, just shut the curtains!  And whatever you do, make sure not to leave windows open in rooms that aren’t occupied – even if you’ve only stepped out of the room for a minute. It’s plenty of time for thieves to grab possessions through the open window.

For a professional security check of your student property, visit www.locksmiths.co.uk to find a vetted and qualified locksmith near to your new home The MLA is recognised by organisations such as the government, police and the majority of insurers as the authoritative body for locksmithing, so look out for the MLA Approved Company logo You can find more useful security tips for students at www.locksmiths.co.uk/security-advice/student-security-advice.

 

 

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