Security tips for students at university

Student accommodation and university halls are easy targets for thieves, as there’s a big concentration of electronic gadgets like phones and laptops in one place. Plus, students away from home for the first time aren’t always security conscious! There’s no way of protecting your son or daughter the whole time, but here are some tips to help them stay safe at university…

• Check the lock on their bedroom door when they move in and if it doesn’t work, ensure the campus staff or landlord fixes it immediately. It’ll act as a deterrent and also enhance their (and your!) sense of security. If a proper lock is not used, home insurance cover could be invalidated.

• Advise your son or daughter to always lock their door and windows, even if they’re only popping out for a moment – that’s all the time it takes for a thief to steal a laptop, especially amid the craziness of freshers’ week. It’s also worth them drawing the curtains when they leave their room so valuables aren’t visible.

• They should be careful not to walk around talking into their mobile late at night – it’s an open invitation for someone to grab their phone and the distraction of the conversation will make them less safety conscious.

• Make sure they have a good bike lock and advise them to lock their bike in busy places. Thieves will be less likely to try and steal a bike if it requires tools, and are more likely to try and take it from a quiet area.

• Encourage them to download an app such as ‘Lookout’ that can help locate their smartphone if it is lost or stolen. It can make the phone ring to help find it if it’s simply mislaid, or emit a signal to show its location if it has been stolen, which can help the police find it. If they do lose their phone, they should also call their provider and block it immediately.

• Check to see if your own home insurance policy will cover student contents while your son or daughter is staying in a student residence.

• Check if your son or daughter's university has a property registration or ultra-violet (UV) marking scheme, which helps police identify stolen goods, ensuring they are returned to their rightful owner. If there’s no official scheme, UV markers are cheap to buy – simply mark their valuables with the name of their university and student ID number.

• It might sound obvious, but remind them not to share their passwords or PIN numbers with anyone else. Encourage them to change passwords if and when they suspect someone else may have seen them.

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