By Rachel Measures, Masters in PR.
Many of you are leaving for a few weeks or months over the summer now that your courses have finished. At this time, it’s not surprising to say that student houses can be easy targets for crime, especially when they can be left empty for a while between university ending and university beginning again.
Sheffield is a friendly city but crime occurs everywhere. If you live in a student house or are moving into one in the next few weeks, I want to share my advice for keeping yourself and your belongings safe.
- Keep doors locked and windows shut
One in three burglaries are due to doors and windows being left open or unlocked. One of my friends had their bag stolen when their kitchen door was left unlocked. So, I’ve gotten myself into the habit of keeping the doors and windows locked – even when I’m in the house. If I’m not in the room where the window is open, I will close it. It takes seconds but can ensure your belongings are kept safe from opportunist thieves.
- Take valuables home
I take as many of my valuables back home as I can when I leave my student property for long periods of time so if the worst does happen, there’s less impact.
- Keep any valuables you do leave out of sight
If burglars can see them, they might target them, so hide away your valuables especially when you’re not in. Whenever I leave my house for a couple of nights, my laptop gets hidden in my wardrobe or under my bed.
- Let your landlord know you’re going
Let your landlord know that no one will be around. My landlords have always been grateful to know, and it usually means that they’ll keep an eye on the property while you’re away.
- Make sure you have contents insurance
Sometimes this comes with your rent, and sometimes you will be covered in your parents’ insurance policies, but it never hurts to check because if the worse happens, at least you know you’ll be able to replace some of your valuables.
If the worse does happen:
- Call the police on 101
Log the burglary and make a list of everything that has been damaged or stolen, and touch nothing until the police can record the crime scene. This will help the police if they find any of your belongings and help the insurance company with any claims.
- Contact your landlord
Let them know what has happened and let them fix the issues that they need to in order to make the property safe again.
By being smart, we can put burglars off targeting our student homes and keep ourselves safe. So far, I am fortunate enough to say that these methods have worked and I have not been a victim of a burglary.