How to protect your student home against burglars
Moving into your first student houseshare is a rite of passage you’ll never forget. From sharing a 3am Domino’s with your housemates to arguments over who turned the heating on... living in a houseshare for the first time is bound to be full of ups and downs. But while minor disagreements over who used the last of the milk and dealing with mice infestations are just part of student living, one thing you’ll definitely want to avoid is being burgled.
With multiple students living under one roof – each one likely owning lots of expensive items like laptops and bikes – student houseshares are often very attractive to burglars. So it’s probably no surprise that a third of all students have been a victim of crime, the most common being burglaries. Protecting your belongings (and yourself) should be your number one priority, which is why we’ve come up with some tips to prevent your house from being a target.
1. Keep valuables away from windows
Avoid keeping expensive items like laptops and speakers in plain sight. Burglars will be looking for the quickest and easiest way to get to your belongings, and leaving them lying in front of your window is bound to be inviting. Hide your belongings when you leave the house by popping them under your bed, and draw the blinds whenever you go out so burglars won't be tempted.
2. Lock up
Sounds basic, but one of the best ways to prevent robberies is to lock your front door! This can be easier said than done when you’re in a rush to make your 9am lecture, but taking the extra couple of seconds to ensure your property is safe could be the difference between having a laptop or not when you get back. Remember that this goes for the back door too. Top tip: leave a post it note on the inside of the door to remind you and all your housemates to lock up when coming back inside.
Another precaution to take is to check that the locks on the house are safe when moving in. Take the time to ask the letting agent about the safety of the property while looking around – it’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure you’re safe, and if the locks aren’t up to scratch then make sure they sort it, or find another property. It’s also advised that you have more than one lock on each door – so if you only have one, flag it up with your landlord.
3. Make it look like someone’s at home
As Home Alone taught us, burglars are most likely to attempt a break in at times when no ones around, making Easter and Christmas holidays (when most students go home) the ideal time to strike. Make it look like someone’s in by investing in a light timer – these can be purchased cheaply from homeware stores or Amazon. Just plug it into the mains and use it to turn a lamp on at a certain time - 7-11pm is ideal. Plus, having your lamp on a timer will save more energy than leaving a light on for the entire time you’re away.
4. Register your valuables
Use Immobilise to register your expensive belongings – just sign up using your email and note down the make, model and serial number of your electronics on their free database. All 43 police forces in the UK have access to this information, so the police will be far more likely to return your valuables to you if they do ever get stolen.
5. Get rid of expensive item packaging
Leaving the packaging of your brand new iMac lying on the pavement outside is a surefire way to advertise to burglars that you have expensive items in your house. Make sure you break up all packaging and hide it deep in your recycling bin, ideally covered with other cardboard.
6. Take care on social media
One method burglars use to assess whether a house is empty or not is via social media. Avoid posting details of your location - such as Facebook check-ins - on social media, as this will alert burglars to the fact that your property is vacant. It’s also advised that you avoid posting about recent expensive purchases on social media sites, as this could be seen by potential thieves too.
7. Be careful who you let in
Living with lots of people can mean you’ve got guests constantly coming in and out, some of whom you may not know. Make sure that anyone who enters the house is known by at least one of your housemates – you don’t want unwanted visitors eyeing up your valuables. Think about it if you have a party too – uninvited guests can easily hear about the event and turn up anyway. Politely ask them to leave, otherwise you may be putting your property and belongings at risk.
So there you have it - the best ways to protect against your house from any intrusions. Now check out our ultimate survival guide for everything else student related.