Staying safe at university – Tips and Ideas

It’s getting to that time of year when student bars start to fill up again, books start to sell out & your best friend takes the room in your new house promised to you. University towns and cities are synonymous with violent and petty crime; a result of alcoholic over indulgence and the disproportionate amount of high-value equipment left in a typically unsecure environment.
University of Oregon
As a parent the thought of your child heading to university for the first time should fill you with pride and excitement. But there will of course also be a fair amount of trepidation mixed in. For most parents this will mark their child’s first prolonged period of absence, an emotional time in itself and not one which should be clouded by worry and doubt.Of course there is no way to guarantee your child’s safety or the safety of their belongings; but there are a few simple rules which if followed should dramatically reduce their chances of becoming a victim. No child likes being lectured by their parents; get creative with how you bring these tips into conversations. A lot are common sense, but as they say “not all sense is common”.
Never leave property unattended

It may seem obvious, but according to Harvard University police 95% of crimes recorded on campus are property theft. Students placing too much trust in their peers or not realising that criminals actively operate on campus. The key is to never let items out of their sight. In the library and need a drink? Pack their computer up and take it with them. Studying in a private room and need the bathroom? Pack everything away and take it with them.

Make them carry a personal alarm

Whether they think something will never happen to them or it simply isn’t cool, carrying an alarm really can make a difference. Not just a female tool either; men are statistically much more likely to be attacked than women.

Use a UV pen to mark property

An inexpensive and very effective tool for recovering stolen property. There are so many other students with similar equipment or looking to procure similar equipment that should there be any debate as to ownership the UV markings really will help.

Protect their identity

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing forms of crime and also one which until it happens to you is given very little thought. It doesn’t just relate to bank cards and direct financial crime; utility bills and other official documentation can be used to open accounts, get cell phones and a multitude of other things. If you can’t convince them to shred things at least stress the importance of keeping important documentation together.

Check for key-loggers

A form of identity theft but one we thought deserved its own comment. Key-logging refers to the installation of software on a computer which records every keystroke made over a period of time. This information is then decoded to find usernames and passwords for internet banking and other financial sites. Public computers are often used at university; from internet cafes to actual classes, it is important that they check for malware. Ensure up-to-date virus protection is installed and watch for over active processors when completing seemingly undemanding tasks (emails, word docs etc).

Study the emergency procedure document at least once

If there is one university safety document we stress every student read at least once it is the emergency procedure document, every university should have one. It covers best practice in the event of something terrible happening on campus. We know it doesn’t bare thinking about; but as a parent you will feel better in the knowledge that your child knows what to do.

Make sure their valuables are insured

A bit defeatist but extremely important nonetheless, over half of the reported student burglary victims don’t have adequate insurance. It will be worth it just for peace of mind.

About the author
These tips and advice are brought to you by Yale composite doors. Each Yale door is manufactured to comply with the ‘secured by design’ police initiative. Yale’s designs range from contemporary front doors to period styles such as Victorian and Georgian.