It’s likely that you and your fellow students have brought some pretty expensive devices to university – laptops, tablets, Smartphone’s and more. This makes you a target for those who are happy to take advantage of any student who has a relaxed approach to security. Here are our top tips for keeping your valuables safe and sound.
Get contents insurance
If your belongings aren’t insured you’re asking for trouble. Get in touch with a company that specialises in insuring student accommodation and you’ll find them very helpful. Remember to ask whether the cover includes times when you may need to take something out of the house (a laptop to class, for example) and if you ride a bicycle, see if you can get them to cover that too. It’s very rare that stolen items are recovered by the police and if you’re not insured you won’t get any compensation at all.
Take security seriously
Lock your doors and windows, even in the summer, even if it’s hot, and don’t leave stuff laying around where a thief can see it. Remember that most burglaries aren’t planned, they’re opportunistic – just someone walking past an open window and seeing a Smartphone on the sill, plugged in and charging. If you need to leave a spare key somewhere, don’t stick it under a plant pot outside the front door (or under the mat, for that matter); try and find somewhere a bit more inventive or leave it with a friendly neighbour and don’t invite people back if you don’t know them.
Mark your stuff
It may not look very cool, but marking your computer, tablet or phone with a marker pen will sometimes deter a would-be thief; something like your address or post code is usually a good idea. If you can’t bear the thought of it, try using a UV pen so that the identifying markings will only show up under ultra violet light.
Get advice from the student office
You’ll often find that certain student towns and campuses are attractive to certain kinds of thieves or scam artists; there might be a ring of bike thieves or a gang that steals iPads, for example. The student office will be able to help you out with advice and information and also warn you if there are any door-to-door scams going on in the area.
Leave your prize possessions at home
There are some expensive items – like computers – that you’re going to need with you at university, but there are others – jewellery or an expensive watch for example – that are nice to have, but not essential. If you’ve got something that you couldn’t bear to lose, don’t take the risk – leave it at home where it’s likely to be safer.
Who needs a TV?
Thieves love expensive flat screen TVs so instead of buying one, take out a subscription to something like Netflix which you can watch on your computer. (And remember, if you only watch on-demand programs, you don’t need a TV license, so you’ll save money on that).
Back up your data
Data backup is a bit like insurance – really boring until you need it, at which point it becomes the most interesting and important thing in the world. Treat yourself to a portable hard drive and back up every week. Hide the drive at the bottom of a sock drawer (just don’t forget it’s there). Even better, subscribe to an online backup service which has the added advantage of being automatic – so you don’t even have to remember to back up, the service just does it for you over the Internet. Something like Backblaze offers unlimited backup for less than £40.00 a year. Having an up to date back up of your work and photographs will soften the blow if your computer gets stolen.
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