Theft, robbery and criminal attacks are scary. Not to scare you but thieves and robbers find students as vulnerable targets. 20% of students have been victimised by crime during their higher education, reports the National Union of Students. Nevertheless, there is less to no need to worry if you do some steps to prevent them from happening to you and to protect yourself, your residence and your belongings from them.
You can make yourself very much less vulnerable to these crimes. Protect yourself from the effects of crime, its traumatic effect, the physical injuries that may go with it and the average total replacement and damage costs of £900 as found out by the NUS. Based on the expert advice of lock company Yale, here are some ways to protect yourself from theft, robbery and criminal attacks.
Ask your room mates whether they are aware of the student statistic in crime victimisation and discuss with them what all of you will do to keep your shared residence fortified against thieves and robbers. These include:
- Lock the Door
Locking the door when being the last one to leave. You can put reminders for this on both sides of the door. Also, do not forget to secure the windows. You can even keep the door locked even when you are there.
- No Notes
Avoid leaving notes on your door indicating you are not there, where you will be going or that you will be back right away. Your purpose may be to ask a visitor to wait or also be back but it is a go signal to criminals.
- Don’t Hold the Door for Strangers
If you live in a student hall, avoid letting people you do not know tail gate. Just get in, do not hold the door for them and just ask security personnel to welcome them. Do not worry about appearing to be rude; security is far more important. And besides, students living in the building will understand and will not be offended.
Belongings that You Bring Outside Your Residence
- Secure Your Bike
You might ride your bicycle to go to class or run errands. Do not think that it is valuable only to you. They are also attractive to thieves. The proof: 100,000 bicycles are stolen every year. When parking your bike, lock each wheel and off the ground. This way, thieves cannot attempt to break the locks against the ground.
Park your bike in open, public places. For bike parking rack areas, check whether there is a CCTV and see to it that it is not hidden from view. Do not leave helmets and extras like lights which can be removed by thieves. Register your ownership of your bike with immobilise.com.
- Laptop and Cyber Identity
More than its price, your laptop is “very expensive to replace” because of the valuable information you have stored in it from personal photos, to study files and the passwords you have keyed in on it. Even if you have backed up your files, again, your laptop is too expensive to loose.
Never leave your laptop unattended even in the library or any lecture venue. The only exception is if you lock it on the table or desk with a laptop lock. Also, use a laptop cable lock. Do not attract thieves’ attention to your laptop. Put it inside a laptop case and then carry it along inside an ordinary backpack or any usual bag.
When leaving your laptop at home, still keep it locked in a drawer or cabinet even while you are sure that your doors and windows are locked. Thus, even if thieves break in your secured door, they will still need more time, extra effort and take more risk to find your laptop.
Even if you do all the laptop “hardware” security measures, secure still its software by backing up your files on a removable storage you should keep from it and in your email. You can also install further security measures on your laptop with a computer tracking software like LoJack.
Yourself and Personal Effects
- Personal Safety
Do not attract thieves’ attention to yourself. See to it that you do not flash your valuables like cellphones, laptop and jewellery. If possible – avoid wearing jewellery, using your cellphone and laptop in public. If possible, avoid bringing them. Attracting robbers is not only bad for your belongings, it is more so worse for your safety.
- Your Bag and Belongings
Carry your bag close to you with the pocket or clasp facing inwards. Do put all your valuables in your bag; keep some on you like your pants’ pockets. Doing this is a precaution from losing all your valuables if your bag gets snatched or slashed despite keeping it secure in the first place. You can also consider carrying an attack alarm. Aside from using it if ever you get attacked, it also helps you feel better secured. Also, avoid potentially dangerous areas. One best way to do so is plan your routes ahead.
- Night Outs
Nights outs are okay. They can be good. What is bad is the bad effects. Nevertheless, you can still have safe night out. To do so, treat alcohol with dignity and respect. Think of beer as a sacred drink shared in friendship and meaningful worthwhile socialisation. Hence, when it starts produce ugly results, you should start correcting it.
Alcohol becomes a poison that kills a good time when your judgment is impaired. Your impaired judgements causes you behaving violently, being noisy and throwing litter anywhere. It can lead to dancing and roaming unaware of other people, which may include disguised thieves. Thus, take alcohol slowly and in moderation.
Slow down or stop when you have had too much alcohol that you start these behaviours. And as your judgement may have been impaired, you also should be open to suggestions especially when it relates to being safe from muggers and thieves.
So remember: work hard, study hard and stay safe this term!