Stay safe

A student house or halls often contains more possessions than the average family home with many occupants often having TVs, DVD players, PCs, laptops, stereos and MP3 players.

As a result student houses or halls are very desirable for burglars. By following these simple steps you can make your property less of a target.

If you are living in halls 

  • Please ensure that you have suitable insurance and insure all of your valuables.

  • Make sure that you close and lock windows and doors even if you are going out for a short time. About 90 per cent of burglaries in halls are through insecure windows or doors. Most burglaries occur during the evening when students have returned from lectures and leave their doors and windows open when they go out of their rooms for short periods of time (e.g. going to the kitchen, bathroom or a friends room).

  • Don't leave anything on display.

  • Try and think of your room as a burglar’s dream – when you leave your room hide or lock things away. If your desk is near a window, avoid leaving items lying on the desk when you out of your room.

  • Do not rely on access control systems on the main entrance or flat doors.

  • Access controlled doors only work if they are shut and are not left wedged open! Avoid letting in people into halls that you do not know. Many criminals will take the opportunity to commit 'walk-in' or 'tail-gate' thefts from halls of residents. We encourage you to be extra vigilant and be alert to strangers hanging around or in your buildings and report any suspicions immediately.

If you are living in the private rented sector

  • Please ensure that you have suitable insurance and insure all of your valuables.

  • Don’t leave anything on display – particularly anything that can be seen from outside the house. Do not place posters in the main windows of your house that advertise university or student events, you are basically letting burglar’s know that your house is a student house!

  • Get some timer switches to use on lights and stereos, this will make it appear that you are in when your not, especially in the darker months of the year. You can get these cheap from most DIY and electrical shops and the costs can be split amongst the house.

  • If you have a burglar alarm then please remember to set it when you go out!

  • Use a UV pen to mark your valuables with your postcode. We advise that you use your term time postcode and your family home postcode. Think of all the hard work, time and effort that you have spent on your work. Now imagine losing all of that work just before the important deadline. That is why backing up your work to a separate medium is so very crucial. You can buy a 2GB USB flash drive for less than five pounds!  

  • To block dangerous spam, harmful viruses and the potential threat of cyber thieves hacking into your laptop or PC please ensure that you have adequate internet security installed.

On a night out

When you go on a night out make sure that you make it a night to remember for the right reasons.

Here are a few simple steps to follow to make sure that your great night out is also a safe night out:

  • Plan your evening before you go and pre-book your taxi for your return journey.

  • If you do decide to walk home after a night out walk in a group and avoid putting yourself at risk by taking shortcuts, for example, through dark alleyways or parks. Stick to well lit main roads.
  • Go out in group, stay in a group and return in a group.

  • Try to have someone in the group or a few of you that stays sober to make sure that everyone else is safe.

  • Avoid mixing your drinks and try and break up the evening by drinking water or soft drinks (this will do wonders to help you avoid making risky decisions and will also help you avoid getting a hangover!).

  • Think before you drink! Don't accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended in public places as 'spiking' drinks does on occasion occur.

  • If you have been out and it is late, call a cab. Walking home drunk can be nearly as dangerous as driving. Intoxicated pedestrians account for a large number of pedestrian-involved traffic accidents. Drunken pedestrians are also more susceptible to becoming a crime victim.

Out and about

Don’t carry large amounts of cash on you when you are out. Try not to use cash machines in poorly lit areas and be aware of others around you. If you must use a machine go with a friend, shield your pin number and leave as soon as you have your money.

Always carry change/telephone card/mobile phone to make a telephone call or to get a taxi should you need one.

Be alert and brief when using your mobile phone and try to conceal it.

When using a public telephone stand, face outwards, so that you can see what is going on around you.

If you feel that you are being followed, cross the street (more than once if necessary) and if you are still unhappy move as quickly as possible to a public area such as a restaurant or bar and call the police for help. It is not best to use the first telephone that you see if it is in an isolated spot.

Avoid confrontation – it’s better and safer to walk away if you are being provoked or hassled.

Carry a personal attack alarm in your hand when walking at night in case you need it quickly. 

On your bike

Unfortunately universities are subject to a large amount of bicycle thefts. To reduce the chances of your bike being stolen there are steps you can take to deter the theft or, if it does happen, to help the possible recovery of your bike.

Please visit the Home Office's page on advice on bicycle theft prevention.

On your phone 

  • Be alert and brief when using your mobile phone and try to conceal it. This leaves you less vulnerable to thieves as it is incredibly easy to snatch a phone from out of someone’s hands.

  • Record the make, model, network details and a description of the phone.

  • If your phone is stolen call your network and call 08701 123 123 to get it blocked within the UK on all mobile networks.  

  • Be careful with your use of Bluetooth. It can help thieves identify who has a phone and where it is. Only have it switched on when you are waiting to receive a file and once received turn it off.

  • Register your phone on the property database Immobilise. This website allows mobile phone owners to log their device for free on the National Mobile Phone Register. This searchable database means that any stolen mobiles uncovered by the police can be immediately tracked back to the owner. Register at immobilise.
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