Photo Courtesy of Eastlake Times.
Burglary Safety for Students this Christmas
Almost 70% of student accommodation is empty during the holidays making it the perfect time for criminals to strike. Police research shows that students are the most targeted section of society by criminals so making sure you are safe and secure couldn’t be more important.
Is your university house at risk?
Some student areas throughout the UK are known black spots for burglary and crime. It is well advised that extra caution is taken in these areas. Here are the university cities most at risk according to the Safe Shop safety league table:
- Greater Manchester
Despite these statistics, when in any city, safety measures should be taken to ensure your uni home is secure. Follow our tips on security so you can eat your turkey in peace this Christmas!
Safety tips and initiatives are carried out by police constabularies and local councils in most regions. The Greater Manchester police, for example, have provided contact information so you are able to get in touch with their team of ‘Crime Reduction Specialists’ for expert advice. Take a look at your local police website for any similar initiatives.
At the Safe Shop, we have interviewed with ex-burglar turned BBC presenter Michael Fraser to hear what risks there are for student burglaries…
1. A big front window on a property allows a burglar to scan what’s in your house; they’re looking for things like mobile phones, laptops, iPads and gadgets.
Keep your valuable items stored in a safe place away from view of the window. Items being on display will only encourage them to break in. If your student house looks out onto the street, make sure that the landlord agrees before signing for the property to fit curtains or blinds if there are none already.
2. A burglar will check out the quality of the locks on the windows and if there are two locks on the front door. Most houses have a single Yale lock on the front door which makes it easy to break in.
When viewing a student house, look out for the security measures in place on the windows and doors. On both front and back doors there should be more than one lock in place, preferably a five lever mortice deadlock, and sufficient security on the windows – on the ground floor in particular. Remember that it is in your landlord’s interest for you to be secure in the house, so you are well within your rights to ask for these to be fitted before signing for a property.
3. Social media is a big problem, people will share details about their address, talk about when they’re going on holiday or brag about things they’ve bought. This type of information is invaluable to a criminal.
A burglar will use whatever information that they have to determine who to target. If your social media account has an address and a status stating ‘home for the holidays’ you are a clear target for someone looking for an empty house. To avoid this, make use of any security measures available on social media to keep your information away from prying eyes.
4. An opportunist burglar will be able to tell whether a house is being lived in or not by such tell-tale signs as letters left in the letterbox or no lights being on when it’s dark.
Prepare the house so the property doesn’t appear so obviously empty. Place a notice on the door asking for no flyers to be left outside or to deter the burglar from targeting the house purchase timer plugs for your lights which turn lights on at a certain time of day depending on when it is set to. This will make the house look more lived in when away during the holidays.
5. The average person will bring up to £1000 worth of equipment to university. A burglar will be much more inclined to steal and keep any property, particularly electrical items, if they’re not properly locked or secured. Find out more advice from him here.
At the most basic of security you should always password protect your mobile, laptop, and other electrical items. In the event of a burglary you are far more likely to receive your electrical items back if they are secured, tracked, and registered with Immobilise – the UK national property register. To track your device, download a mobile tracker app to give you the location of your mobile after a burglary.
Students were more likely to be victims of property crime than those in other groups. This was true for a number of crime types, including bicycle theft and theft from the person. It’s always wise to take extra caution over the Christmas period and by following these simple steps to deterring thefts, you’ll find that it’s easier than you think to ensure that you’re not the next target.
Do you have any advice or experience on student home security? Leave your comments below!