A student’s guide to avoiding theft on campus

Did you know that over a third of UK students will be targeted by thieves during their time at university? This is largely because the typical uni lifestyle can make people more vulnerable to crimes. Guest contributor, Cleo, offers some valuable tips to help prevent theft across campus, and to protect your belongings wherever you are living.

Photo: Markus Spiske at Unsplash

As a student, you’ll no doubt be aware of the need to protect your belongings and keep yourself safe. Only four out of 143 UK universities publish statistics about on-campus and university-related crime, so while there’s no way of knowing exactly what’s occurring on your campus, you can still take sensible precautions. One of the most important things you can do is be aware of the risks of theft while on campus. Here are a few tips to ensure your possessions remain in your grasp.

1. Keep your belongings close, especially when walking around campus

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of campus life. But with so much going on, it’s important to stay vigilant and protect your belongings at all times. Whether it’s your laptop, phone, purse, or even just a notebook, always make sure to keep them close to you when walking around campus. It only takes a split second for someone to snatch something, or for it to accidentally fall out of your backpack. Even if it means investing in a strong lock for your bag, it’s worth it to prevent the headache and heartbreak of losing personal possessions. Also, be sure to take all your valuables when you go home for the holidays.

2. Don’t leave your laptop or phone unattended in a public place

It’s tempting to leave your devices behind while you grab a coffee or run a quick errand. But leaving your phone or laptop unattended on campus can make you vulnerable to theft. Thieves can swipe a device in no time at all. Even if your devices are locked, someone may be able to access personal information without your knowledge. And once that information is stolen, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to regain control over it. Take your devices with you, or store them in a safe location such as a locker or with a friend.

3. Invest in a good quality lock for your room (and bike)

Living in halls can be a fun, sociable experience – but that means people will be coming and going, giving thieves opportunities to sneak into open accommodation (known as tailgating) to steal valuables. Investing in a good quality lock for your room on campus is always a smart idea. Let’s face it, no one wants the added stress of their laptop or bike going missing. Plus, many insurance policies will only cover claims for theft if you had taken proper security measures.

4. If you see something suspicious, report it to security immediately

It’s easy to brush off an uneasy feeling or see something suspicious and choose to ignore it. However, for the sake of the campus community, it is always wise to alert security. It may turn out to be nothing, but better safe than sorry. Campus security is trained to handle these situations and will know how best to address any potential threats. So, if something feels off or seems suspicious, trust your instincts, and report it immediately.
Follow these tips and enjoy your university experience with the peace of mind that you’re doing what you can to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

About the author

Cleo Smith is a journalism graduate originally from Cornwall. She’s passionate about giving students the best possible guidance so they can have an amazing uni experience. Cleo loves writing, and she hopes to use her skills to help as many people as she can. When she’s not working, Cleo enjoys spending time with her friends and family.