Staying safe in your new flat

Around 30 per cent of students will be a victim of crime at some point during their university experience. One of the most common forms of student-targeted crime is burglary. This is why taking proper safety measures is imperative for students, doing all you can to make your home as secure as possible is crucial.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the majority of burglars are opportunists. Few thieves break in to a property just to have a look around with their fingers’ crossed they’ll find something expensive. What’s much more likely is that the burglar knows there’s something worth taking.

So don’t let them know. Don’t keep valuables in plain sight, even if you’re in a flat above ground. Leaving any high cost items in front of a window is an invitation for a burglar, so keep them in more private places.

It’s also an idea to keep a light on, or invest in a light-timer if you know you’ll be out for a while. Nothing says ‘empty house’ like a flat with all of its lights off for days on end. Yes, it might cost a few extra pounds on the electricity bill, but it’s worth it to prevent an opportunist breaking in and taking that £1000 laptop.

Secondly, keep doors and windows locked. Many students don’t thoroughly check their door has locked behind them. This is especially true of doors into communal corridors, which may give a thief access to rear gardens or other people’s flats.

It is paramount to ensure that your flat has adequate security. It’s undeniable that when looking around potential pads you’re much likely to be gawking over the size of the living room than checking the lock fixings, but it’s certainly worth doing.

Windows should also be taken into account. Most of the old style Edinburgh flats have sash windows that might look pretty, but are easy to force open without the right security. Typically sash windows have only basic latches when they should have a latch and a lock in order to make them truly safe.

Sadly, not all theft can be prevented. However there are steps you can take which mean that if you were to be a victim, the police could help you much faster. One way to do this is to keep a note of your make, model and serial number of the electronic devices you own. Laptops can also be marked with ultraviolet pens, which trace you as the owner immediately if your property were to be stolen.

Remember if you are broken into, you should call the police immediately.

[image: viviana via flickr]

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