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How to stay safe in your student accommodation

24th July 2013

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Leaving home for the first time can be both daunting and exciting. So can choosing where to live; shared accommodation including halls-of-residence is the most popular choice with students today.

If you're a student who is going away to university this September then we have some useful hints and tips which will help prepare you for university life.

The idea of freedom, meeting new people and living an independent lifestyle cannot come quick enough for many, and it is often hard to prepare for life outside the family home. In preparation for this parents and carers play a key role in educating their children on the dangers associated with student life. Most students will have a rich and enjoyable experience throughout their studies, however awareness is key as one in three students are a victim of crime in some shape or form. For geographical crime facts and figures see .

So, for worried parents and inexperienced students, what can you expect when you move away from home?


  • Where you choose to live is a big commitment and it needs to be somewhere where you feel both comfortable and safe. For the first year most students decide to live in student halls of residence to interact and live with other students of a similar age and similar interests.
     Things which you need to consider;

  • Social networking sites play an important role in a student`s social life, however it is important to think about internet safety, so be aware of what you reveal to strangers – especially if your social profile page has pictures of your house. While this may be useful for invitees, there is also a chance of burglars seeing this as an opportunity.
  • If you choose to stay in student accommodation be careful of who you invite over. It is customary for fresher’s to host parties and show flatmates around their living quarters. It may break the ice; but this could attract unwanted attention.
  • Don’t advertise your house as a student one because people are aware of what a typical student house looks like. Burglars will target student houses for electronics (such as laptops) as opposed to a family household. As students are expected to have valuables it is a good idea to mark valuables with a pen torch. Most student houses do not have curtains (especially blackout curtains) so it is important to invest in some and you can also buy a cheap curtain pole to match to help hide valuables.
Kenneth Beneah Okwata Aruwa, the Vice President (Education & Welfare) at London University’s Students’ Union, says: “Burglars are well aware that in student houses there is likely to be a plethora of valuable items. In a six bedroom student house there might be six computers, possibly six TVs and six mobile phones.”

Research shows that one in three burglaries is due to an open window or door, which is why students should always lock-up. This is especially common if you are based on the ground floor with items at arm’s length. Also keep valuables out of sight as this could also attract unwanted attention. Throw electronic packaging away but not in your bin as you are showing potential burglars a list of what you own.

Neighbourhood Watch

It is worth finding out whether or not you can sign up to neighbourhood watch scheme, or if your Student Union has one.  Knowing information about your surroundings and the type of area you live in will make you more vigilant.

How to recover items

Find My Phone is a smartphone app which allows you to track a lost phone. If you enter an incorrect password it will then take a picture of the person who is trying to access your phone and also send you an email of the offending person.

Also, keep a note of laptop and mobile phone serial numbers and take a picture of any valuables as a precaution. Always make sure you have valid insurance, as the amount which you could lose financially could be worth thousands.

What to look out for

In an ideal world if thieves were easy to spot, for example, if they wore a balaclava, a black and white stripped top and black trousers, then there would be no need to take precautions. However this ideal world doesn’t exist and you need to be vigilant when carrying valuables like laptop bags. When leaving and entering student accommodation make sure you are aware of your surroundings especially when leaving valuables behind; most student accommodation comes with fob keys for added security.

Personal safety

If you have been broken into it’s understandable to feel insecure so make sure you speak to someone who you can confide in. You must contact the emergency services immediately if you are being burgled and try not to touch anything.

Be safe and enjoy being a student!

University is an enjoyable experience and if you follow these simple steps you can reduce the risk of being burgled.  Try and get into the habit of locking doors and checking them whenever you go out, even to the shops. Remember keep your valuables out of sight and be safe.

Print off the below poster to remind yourself of ways to stay safe:

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