In 2010, more than 235,000 students in the United Kingdom will head to university. Unfortunately, with so many students and high priced valuables such as smartphones and laptops, even the UK's safest university towns experience some forms of crime, including burglaries, thefts, or assaults.
While safety is a priority for most universities, there are several additional ways you can improve your own safety and keep your belongings secure. Before heading off to university, review these safety tips.
1. Familiarise yourself with your University Safety office.
Every university has a security office, and part of your tuition funds it. Make the most of this resource by utilising its services. Your universities website likely provides information like office hours and phone number, but you can also visit in person when you arrive on campus.
Next Step: Call or visit the security office and request information about their programs. Find out if your campus has the following services and how you can take advantage of them:
Blue light emergency phone stations
Campus escort services
Safety maps with suggested secure routes
Support for a safety app such as Lookout Mobile Security
2. Take extra precaution at night.
On average, sexual assaults and other crimes are more likely to occur at night. And while you shouldn’t scare yourself into assuming danger is around every corner, you also shouldn’t take unnecessary risks, such as walking alone at night. Instead, use the buddy system or if your university provide the service, call campus security for a ride.
Next Step: Can’t avoid walking alone or heading to an unfamiliar location? Download a personal safety app, such as Lookout Mobile Security, which was developed for students. When you walk alone, launch the app and hold your thumb down on the safe button. Once you’re safe, release your thumb and enter your pin. If you need help or are in danger, releasing the button without entering your pin will trusted family or friends of your location.
3. Always lock up.
Just as you wouldn’t leave your house without locking the front door, don’t leave your room or apartment without locking up — even if you’re planning on only being gone a few minutes. If you live on the first floor, close your windows and either shut the blinds or hide your valuables in drawers any time you leave.
Next Step: Purchase a small safe or dedicate a drawer for storing your laptop, iPad, and other valuables when you’re away from your room. If you use a safe, keep it hidden in a wardrobe. If you live on the first floor of a building, make sure your windows lock. If they don’t, you can purchase a sliding window lock or security bar. Also be wary about who you let into your building, especially if you live in halls, most halls have separate doors into your room corridor, always challenge if someone tags on behind you, or asks you to let them in to the secure corridor.
4. Maintain privacy on social media.
Social media is a great platform for connecting with friends and family worldwide or sharing updates about your life. However, with everything you post, stay aware of who else could be viewing your profile. Avoid geotagging your photos, as it reveals your location to strangers, and don’t publicly announce when you’re home alone or are leaving your home unattended.
Next Step: Review the settings on each of your social media profiles. Disable location services, make your accounts