Is Your Student Pad As Secure As It Should Be? ~/link/68ecaf52575a458f8a321e1665ba2ff7.jpg Whether you’re off to university for the first time or are returning after the summer break, now’s the time to make sure your student house or flat is secure. Statistics show that students are the 3rd most likely group to be burgled, so the security experts at Yale have come up with some top tips to keep you and your belongings safe. With nearly 300,000 reported burglaries a year, this is advice you can’t afford to ignore . . . 1. Secure all external doors – it may seem obvious but doors with incorrect or sub-standard locks can impact on the vulnerability of your home, as well as potentially compromise your insurance. If you’re moving into new digs or back into your old place, use the days before lectures start to check that all your doors are fitted with the correct lock. A mortice lock and/or a nightlatch that should be used on external timber doors. If your landlord fits new locks, look out for the kitemark on lock packs and the lock itself. 2. Don’t forget the windows – windows are a common point of entry for burglars and can be even more vulnerable if your house is empty for long periods of time, during the day or night. Make sure all windows are fitted with at least one appropriate lock, especially ground floor windows, which have the potential to be accessed easily. This is even more crucial if you have bedrooms on the ground floor that may contain valuables and electronic goods. Even if your home looks unoccupied, burglars will still avoid smashing windows to prevent them leaving DNA if they cut themselves and will instead, try to force the window frame itself. So, be sure your landlord has fitted window locks that can withstand force and manipulation. 3. Set your alarm – 60% of burglaries attempted on homes with alarms are unsuccessful. As well as providing a visual deterrent to potential burglars, alarms are vital for alerting your neighbours, especially if there are periods throughout the year when you and your housemates are back at home or away travelling. And don’t forget to make sure your landlord has fitted smoke detectors throughout your house. Yale offers wirefree alarm kits with optional smoke detectors that are quick and easy to install and also offer ‘stand alone’ alarm kits for individual rooms which are incredibly simple to set up and use. 4. Sheds, garages and outbuildings – don’t tempt opportunist thieves by leaving sheds, garages and outbuildings poorly secured, especially if they include a door leading to your home. As well as containing valuable items like bikes, many will also house ladders and tools that could prove useful to burglars. Even if you do not have access to these buildings yourself, ensure your landlord fits a heavy-duty padlock, anchor lock or cable. 5. New keys – when moving into a rented student home for the first time, it is vital that you ask your landlord to change the locks or get permission to change them yourselves. You never know how many previous tenants may still have keys to the property. 6. Spare keys – you may be used to leaving your keys in a ‘safe’ hiding place but this is just inviting trouble, especially in areas with a high student population. Never leave your spare keys under the mat or in another outdoor hiding place - burglars know where to look. Leave them with a trusted neighbour or friend instead. 7. Shared accommodation – whilst you may trust your housemates, can they always be trusted to lock the front door behind them when they’re running late for a lecture! Always ensure your room is locked and secure. Yale recommends that basic nightlatches or 2 or 3 lever mortise locks are fitted on all internal doors. 8. Secure your valuables – with identity theft on the rise and more and more students owning valuable electronic goods, such as laptops, ipods and dvd recorders, it’s more important than ever to secure your personal possessions. Installing a home or laptop safe, bolted securely to the floor or wall, to store sensitive documents such as passports and driving licenses, as well as valuable jewellery or electrical goods, is a great way of protecting your personal items. Yale offers a range of affordable electronic and key-operated safes that are easy to use and install. 9. Mark your property – it’s always a good idea to mark your expensive items with your postcode, as this makes it easier for the police to identify your property and prove that it’s yours in court. Slightly more sophisticated than etching your name with a compass, Yale offers an ultra-violet property marker pen, ideal for identifying your personal goods. 10. And finally – make sure your personal safety comes first when you’re out and about. Always avoid walking places on your own and always carry a personal attack alarm. Yale offers an affordable personal attack alarm that is small and discreet to carry, with built-in siren, activated by pulling the hand loop. All of the Yale security products recommended are available in many large retailers and hardware stores, or through your local locksmith.