How to make your student house more secure
Student home security needn’t be a Home Alone style setup of mannequins, firecrackers and old black-and-white movies to scare away potential thieves; it just needs a bit of common sense and some ingenuity.
As student houses are often seen as easy pickings by burglars who see the lack of precautions and high amount of expensive property (three students will probably mean three laptops, three phones, three cameras etc.) it means they often get broken into more than other houses, so what can you do to make sure you stay safe?
Make it difficult
A burglar will always look for the easiest place to get into as it makes their job easier. If your house looks more difficult to get into than the house down the street, they’ll more than likely go to the house a few doors down. You can make sure your house looks secure by:
- Always locking doors and windows, even if you’re the only person in and plan on going out again
- Putting an external light above your door to alert people to their presence
- Having a Yale lock as well as the door lock so the door is always locked and more secure
- A “Beware of the dog” sign is a classic, and will make a house look far less attractive
Leave it on, put it away
Autumn and Winter mean darker nights, and darker nights mean it’s easier for a burglar to stay hidden when looking at your house – especially if there aren’t any lights on and it looks like nobody’s home. To make your house look less appealing, try:
- Leaving lights on if you’re going out at night so it looks like someone’s in
- Alternatively, try buying a timer plug so your lamp/tv/radio comes on a certain time every day and looks like someone’s home – especially good for going on holiday
- Put any valuables away and out of sight – if someone looks through your window and sees a laptop, necklace, phone etc. there’s a bigger chance they’ll want to gain entry.
Think about insurance
Though insurance is one extra cost to think about (and more money out of the drink fund) it can help you if the worst should happen. Be careful though, as many student insurance packages won’t pay if there are no signs of forced entry – this means that your mate leaving the door open/unlocked and a burglar nipping in, taking some of your belongings and getting out quickly won’t be covered and you’ll have to pay for the stolen items. Remedy this by always locking your door, even if you’re in the house.
Secure your garden
Gardens and garden sheds can sometimes house gardening equipment which can be either used to break in, or stolen and sold easily, so it’s important to secure your garden. Remember that as garden sheds and any other garden buildings are outside and not attached to the house, there’s a greater chance you won’t hear it. Garden buildings can be a low-risk, high-reward target for burglars, so making sure that they’re secure and locked is the best way to prevent burglaries. To secure your garden building, try:
- Using a padlock on the shed to make it look more secure
- Putting a movement-sensor light above the door to alert anyone to their presence, or a shed alarm would work just as well
- Blocking windows to prevent anyone seeing any valuables inside
- Secure the hinges more to make it harder for the door to be kicked off
- Chain up any valuables, as bikes in particular can be sold very quickly and easily, preventing them from being found
- Always lock the door regardless of what you’re doing – if you’re having a shower this presents the perfect opportunity for someone to sneak in
- Hide any valuables, especially after Christmas when more students will have expensive presents they’ve come back with
- A timer switch will turn on a light even if you’re not in, making your house look busy and less attractive to a burglar
- Sheds, log cabins and garages aren’t attached to the house and thus easier to break into, so take extra care to secure them
- Dispose of packaging carefully – a big TV box in your bin will indicate there’s a brand new TV in your house, as will an old TV next to your house or bin