Research suggests that burglary is the crime most commonly committed against students. Burglars know that students possess expensive electronic items like laptops, TVs, smartphones and mp3 players, which provide them with a quick return.
The fact that several students often live together in shared accommodation is also attractive to burglars. They have the opportunity to break into a house that may contain many valuable gadgets, making it a potential gold mine.
Bike theft is another problem that affects students. Sometimes thieves choose their victims purely because they have seen bicycles being wheeled in and out of their house. Students forget to lock their bikes when they are stored indoors, or they use cheap locks that are easily cut through with bolt cutters.
The best way to protect your bike is to purchase a ‘D’ lock with a cable attached to it. A ‘D’ lock takes a thief a very long time to get through, as it is one of the toughest bike locks available.
Burglars are looking for a house that gives them the easiest way of committing their crime without being caught, with the fewest obstacles to avoid. Students are more likely to leave their doors and windows open and unlocked, providing easy access to burglars. It is estimated that three out of ten burglars get in the house through a window.
MoneySuperMarket have conducted some research into the best and worst places to live, based on burglary rates in the UK. The data has revealed the top 10 most likely postcodes to be burgled:
Contents theft rate (per 1000) *
Whilst this is unhappy reading for residents living in these areas, it’s those living in student accommodation based in these areas who need to be the most vigilant, as burglars often see these complexes or houses as easy targets.
So which students need to be the most vigilant?
Based on the data we can see that students studying in the following cities should take extra care locking their houses and hiding belongings.
Whilst student accommodation is a target for burglars, the majority of offenders are opportunists who see an easy opening and take their chance to steal an expensive piece of kit, be it a laptop or something else.
If you are a student who thinks you may be at risk of burglary, read our five tips on how to make your home a more secure place...
1. Lock your door and close your windows
Locking up whenever you go out – and using deadbolts – can prevent a burglar from simply walking through your front door or climbing through a window.
2. Don’t let strangers into your halls of residence
Report the presence of strangers, whether they have gained access or are hanging around outside, to Resident Hall Staff.
3. Be careful where you use your mobile phone
While on the street near your home a thief might see your expensive smartphone, and later try to break into your house to steal it. If your phone is stolen call your provider immediately to prevent anyone from being able to use it and running up expensive bills.
4. Buy a safe
It is worth investing in a quality safe, as chances are low that burglars are going to get into it – especially if you bolt it down or embed it in concrete.
5. Protect yourself with home insurance
Take out adequate home or possessions insurance, and keep a list of the serial numbers of your electronic devices. If the worst happens and your goods are stolen, you can pass these on to your insurance company, or give them to the police to help track down the items down.
Even though leaving home to go to university is an exciting time of life, the experience can be ruined by crime. Research suggests that the 16 to 24 age group is at higher risk of burglary than any other group. That’s why you need to turn yourself into the criminals’ worst nightmare by following the simple tips above - you’ll be much less likely to lose your valuable gadgets and possessions.
About the author: This was a guest post written by student Joseph Hill, currently blogging on burglary issues on behalf of home security safe experts The Safe Shop.