It is estimated that 1 in every 3 students fall victim to crime during their time at university. It doesn’t matter how old you are, when you’re lying in bed and you hear that dreaded bump in the night, you’re suddenly seven years old again hiding under the covers.
Moving away from the family home is exciting, it’s a big step and you finally have all the freedom that you ever wanted. But there is no quicker way to burst your blissful bubble of new found independence than realising that an intruder has broken into your home, rummaged through your stuff and helped themselves to both your expensive and sentimental possessions.
Christian Alves, 20, chemistry student, found exactly this when he returned home one day in September. He said: “For the first week after it happened I didn’t feel safe in my own home, and still don’t now really. I would have almost felt better if they had kicked the door in, trashed the place and just taken everything they could carry. But this was calculated; they waited for the house to be empty, picked the lock and had a good wander round to see what they wanted. We came back from town and no one even noticed until the morning after.”
Burglary is the crime most commonly committed against students
Especially those who house-share as the burglar can potentially get away with several high-valued goods. It is common knowledge that students are likely to possess expensive electronic items such as laptops, TVs, smartphones and mp3 players, which can be quickly taken and sold, perhaps explaining why statistics show that the student demographic is almost twice as likely to be burgled than any other social group
Christian continued: “When something like this happens it really makes you grow up and realise mummy and daddy aren’t here to protect you anymore. No one is going to tell you to lock the doors before you go to bed or move your laptop away from the window before you leave the house, it’s all up to you.”
Unfortunately, it seems that this kind of incident is not uncommon, as popular student areas often see an increase in crime. Research suggests that the 16 to 24 year olds are at higher risk of burglary than any age group.
Adam Chrimes, 21, computing student, was burgled late last year. He said: “The front door was ajar but I thought nothing of it until we realised that things were missing. We were shook up and instantly I thought about other people in the house that weren’t there; ringing and telling them the bad news was really hard. The worst part was thinking that someone had been in our house and if anyone had been in then they might have been armed. All the what-ifs just keep running through your head.”
In around a quarter of burglaries, the thief gets in through an open door or window. Of course, some burglaries are unavoidable, so make sure you have contents insurance to cover your possessions and follow our guidance to minimise the risk of robbery.
Beat the Burglary
Get in to a routine of locking the front door, your bedroom door and windows when leaving the house before you go to bed. It may be stating the obvious, but the more barriers in place, the harder it is to break in. Leaving everything open is making the burglars job easy.
Hide your laptop
Your shiny new MAC looks extremely tempting to the thief strolling past your window. There have been cases of burglars getting in and out of student houses whilst someone is still in the property. This is because laptops are left out in clear view on easy to grab-and-go surfaces- put it in a drawer or under a cover.
Close the curtains as much as possible
Criminals will use the front room as a shop window to make sure the house they’re picking is a good one to burgle. TVs, games consoles and mobile phones lying around suggest that they’re on to a winner, so close the shop by keeping the curtains closed whenever possible.
The mean replacement cost for property stolen in a burglary is £906.00 so get adequate home or possessions insurance, and keep a list of anything valuable and include serial numbers of your electronic devices. If your goods are stolen, this is very useful information for the police and may help you have your belongings returned.
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.
If you’re worried about falling victim to crime, then contact PC Laura Jackson, the University’s student safety officer: email L.Jackson@hud.ac.uk or call 07939 466979