It’s not the nicest thing to have to think about, but unfortunately burglary does happen and students are prime targets. We have laptops, iPhones, expensive gym gear, and maybe like me you have a banging collection of zebra fish kicking around that some lowlife has their eye on.
You can prevent it though, or at least follow these seven steps to make yourself less vulnerable:
1. Keep valuables out of view: Not to patronise, but when you leave your room (especially if you’re bottom front *sigh*), slide your laptop under the bed, or wherever it is that you keep things that the sun doesn’t shine on. Thieves are opportunists.
2. Lock windows: Whilst the weather is great currently and you want to keep your room cool, there are people who will go for a walk and leave their window wide open to get fresh air in, which is obviously a horrible idea. A burglar will force entry, but would much prefer an easy way in, so don’t give them one. If you are not in the house don’t leave windows open, even if you’re on the top floor, people can climb!
3. Doors: Keep your front and back doors locked. It might be worth checking with your landlord or letting agency to make sure you’ve got locks that conform to British standards and aren’t flimsy. Lock your bedroom door when you go out, especially if you’re going to be out for a while, or if you’re having a party etc. Its not a fun thing to think about, but if you have people round that you don’t fully know or trust, especially if you’re going to be a bit bevved and loose anyway, you’re better off keeping people away from your room.
4. Keys: Don’t leave them near the door or windows, keep them out of sight and for the love of god don’t put your address on them. If you’re worried about losing them, put your phone number on them, check Overheard at Cardiff Uni, or get a spare one cut in case, but an address on your keys just makes you a sitting duck. If like your parents, your uni house has a key rack thing near the front door, you should probably move it further away from the door, because it doesn’t take much to stick a giant poking device through the letter box and nab your keys. I’ve stuck a drawing pin inside my wardrobe to hang my keys on.
5. Timer lights: A classic! when you go home for the holidays, even if you have taken your valuables with you, being burgled is still a traumatic experience. Do what your parents do and invest in a timer from eBay, they are like £3, and you plug a lamp in and boom, every day for a few hours it comes on and looks like there is someone home. You can even get fancy ones now that project the lights of a TV onto the wall, so it really looks like someone is in!
6. Check your insurance: Sometimes you are covered by your parent’s insurance, but most likely you’re not. It’s cheap and entirely worth it. for a few quid a month you can sleep in peace knowing that if anything happens you’re covered.
7. Work as a unit: keep your housemates updated on what you’re doing. If only 2 of you are away, at least someone is still in the house to keep an eye on things. As any relationship councillor will tell you; communication is key.