For many young people, heading off to university and living in a shared student house is their first real taste of independence. But what can you do to make sure that your stuff stays safe while you're away attending classes or socialising? Read on for some helpful advice on keeping your student house secure.
Lock your doors
Burglars tend to be opportunists, and an unlocked door or open window can be just too great a temptation for a passing thief. Everyone who lives in your shared house will have a front door key, but not everyone remembers to lock-up when they leave. Make it a house rule that the front door is kept shut and locked at all times, especially at night.
In a shared house, all the bedrooms should have individual locks on the doors. If your room has no lock on the door, ask your landlord to instruct a locksmith to fit one as soon as possible.
Close your door firmly behind you and lock it whenever you leave your room, even if it's only for a few moments to go to the bathroom. A thief will know that all your valuables are kept in one small area (your room), and it would only take a few moments to go through your stuff and get away with easy-to-carry items like your cash, your tablet, or your iPhone.
Lock your windows too
Many large student houses have downstairs bedrooms, offering a perfect entry point for an enterprising sneak thief. Make sure that your windows have locks fitted to them and that you keep the keys out of sight. If your windows don't have locks, talk to your landlord about having a locksmith to fit them for you.
Keep your windows closed and locked when you're out of your room and at night.
Back it up and mark it
Your laptop is not only an item of monetary value, it probably also contains all your college work. Just imagine the hassle you'd go through if it was stolen! Make it a daily habit to back up your work onto a memory stick or to the Cloud, just in case something happens to your laptop.
When you're out of your room, hide anything of value. Never leave your stuff out on display where it could provide temptation to a would-be thief.
It's a really good idea to mark expensive items, so that they can be identified as yours in the event that they are stolen. A quick and easy way to do this is by writing your postcode or phone number onto your stuff using a UV pen. The mark is invisible to the naked eye but will show up under UV light. You can obtain a marking kit and further advice from your local police station.
Beware the social media stalkers
Although social media is a great place to communicate with your new college friends, it may also be used by thieves who can use your location setting to monitor where you are and therefore see when your house is empty. You can foil this plan by disabling your location setting across all your social media accounts and encourage your housemates to do the same.
Student life is brilliant fun, but do be wary of would-be thieves, and make sure that your stuff stays safe by following the advice given above as you work with your landlord and a local locksmith to improve your house's security.