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SECURITY ISSUES - PROTECTING STUDENT PROPERTY

University areas are crime hotspots

By crime hotspots, we do not mean drunken student behaviour which is feature of most university localities. In this article, crime refers to the danger or burglary and street robbery. Criminals who target students know that they are likely to possess saleable items such as laptops and hi fi equipment. They also know that students are likely to carry cash and mobile phones. In many ways, students make easy targets are they tend not to pay much attention to security.

The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take which will mininimse the threat or effect of crime.

Take out insurance on valuable goods

Just think for a moment about the items that you own that you could not do without. The list may contain desk computers, laptops, iPods, hi fi systems, gaming machines, mobile phones, CDs, books and clothes. Then think about how distressing it would be not to have these items. Well this could quite easily happen if your room, house or flat is burgled. Then think the unthinkable - you do not have enough money to replace them. The obvious solution that many people overlook is insurance. This can range from full household insurance to insurance for individual items such as laptops or mobile phones. It may increase your monthly outgoing by a small amount, but it is well worth the investment.

Get to know your neighbours

It's always worth cultivating a friendly relationship with your neighbours. To do this, your first task is to respect their privacy. Playing loud music throughout the night is one way of alienating them straight away. If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, they will be more likely to keep an eye on your property and report any suspicious activity to the police.

Keeping valuable goods out of sight (at home and in the street)

A lot of burglaries are the result of opportunitists who see a valuable item when passing and identity an easy way in to steal it. One solution to this is to keep valuable items such as laptops and hi fi systems out of sight. If a burglar can't see anything of interest, then he or she is less likely to break and enter.

The same principle applies when you are out and about. Do not flaunt your latest, top of the range mobile phone for all to see. You never know who might be admiring it. The same applies to the wad of money you have just taken out of the cash point machine. Criminals watch people taking money out of cash points, follow them, and rob them in a suitable quiet spot.

Invest in good locks

When you move into a property, check the locks to the front door. Make sure they are good quality and if not, speak to your landlord about the possibility of changing the locks. The same applies to windows. Check the windows to make sure they have locks on them, especially if you are living in a ground floor flat. If the windows do not have locks, suggest it to your landlord. Landlords may be quite responsive to your suggestions they can charge more for secure properties in the future.

House hunting for secure properties

When you are looking for a property, it is worth remembering that first floor flats and maisonettes are more secure than ground floor properties. Obviously, these properties are less susceptible to opportunistic crime.

Also check out the locks on a property (door and window). If they look dodgy, ask if it is possible to replace the locks.

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