As safe as houses?

There’s an old saying that “an Englishman’s home is his castle” – somewhere you can retreat from the world and feel entirely safe and secure. While this is hopefully true, the police want to remind you (and everyone else) that student properties make particularly popular targets for housebreakers because just one break-in can yield more laptops and other electronic devices than can be found in a typical home, and because students are fresh away from their family homes, still feeling their way in the world and therefore more prone to making mistakes.

In halls

In most halls, the sheer sides of the building and the fact your windows are a dizzying height above the ground, brightly lit and overlooked by other properties deters all but the most ambitious of thieves. Just make sure you lock your flat door when you leave, keep your keycard safe, and don’t let anyone you don’t know into the block. Anyone trying to follow you in should be politely asked to let themselves in using their own keycard (to prove they have one).

Private houses

Houses (and individual flats elsewhere) are a little more vulnerable to break-ins, so it pays to take just a few simple measures to keep your stuff safe. When you are the last person in your house to leave or go to bed, think WIDE:

Windows – Have you closed and locked all the windows? Ground floor windows in particular are like open doors. Shut them and lock them if possible before you go to bed or leave an empty house.

Inside – Consider leaving a light or two on to make it look like someone’s still at home if everyone is headed out.

Doors – Lock the doors. All of them. It is even easier for a thief to slip in unobserved through a side or back door than the front door, although they will happily use that as well. It doesn’t matter how long you expect to be away from home – you might be delayed and a burglary takes mere moments. Use any deadlocks that are fitted every time. They are much more powerful than other types of lock and serve as a real deterrent to would-be thieves, but only if you lock them! Otherwise, any lock is little more than an expensive decoration.

Elsewhere – If you spot something that doesn’t look right, call the police. If something just looks suspicious, call 101; in an emergency call 999. There’s safety in (watchful) neighbours.

Well, wasn’t that And now for something entirely different.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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