‘Don’t make it easy for thieves’: How to keep your belongings safe at uni

15 Oct 2019,
By Grace R., Student at Oxford Brookes University

If you’re anything like me, you often lose your keys or phone without even realising, only for them to be found a few minutes later after panic mode sets in.

This is extra worrying on campus, where belongings such as laptops, bikes and mobile phones are at risk. With that in mind, I’m here to give you my top five tips on keeping your belongings safe when heading to uni this autumn.

1. Get a lanyard

House keys, bike keys and even student cards can all be attached and put in one place together on a lanyard, which automatically reduces your chances of losing them. I like to keep mine around my neck so I always know that I have them and haven’t left them somewhere in the library.

2. If you have a bike, buy a sturdy D-lock

D-locks are a great way of keeping your bike locked up wherever you are and are widely recommended for preventing theft. The structure of a D-lock makes it very difficult for someone to break it when compared to normal wire locks, which can easily be cut. In a city like Oxford (where I go to university), bikes are everywhere and are a popular mode of transport, so a D-lock is very much worth the investment. Afterall, what would you rather have to buy, a D-lock or a new bike?

3. Keep your belongings with you

This probably sounds like an obvious thing to do, yet you’d be surprised about how many laptops, bags and other personal belongings get left across university while their owner simply runs to grab another coffee. It leaves your belongings at risk of being stolen and, with most students focused on their work, it is unlikely that anyone would notice if someone else was taking your things.

I always try to get a friend to look after my belongings if we are working together, but if I am alone, I will always pack up and take them with me. It can be tempting to leave things on a desk, especially in exam season, where study space is like finding the end of a rainbow, but it is not worth the risk of losing your stuff.

4. Make sure you have insurance

No matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen, so it’s a good idea to have insurance in place to deal with them. If you’re living in a Unite Students property, you’ll already have cover for your belongings when they’re inside your accommodation thanks to their partnership with insurance provider Endsleigh.

You can also extend the policy so that your belongings are covered when you are out and about, giving you that extra peace of mind in case something goes wrong.

5. Don’t make it easy for thieves

Thieves normally act because they have been given an opportunity that looks both simple and easy, but there are a handful of things you can do to make yourself less of a target. For a start, I always make sure I keep my valuables out of sight so they cannot be spotted through a window.

It’s also important to remember to shut your windows and lock your doors when you’re not in your room. Otherwise, your insurance may not be valid in the event of a theft.

These five tips have been essential in helping me keep my belongings safe at university and, to date, I have not lost or had anything taken while on campus. I hope they will also serve you well.

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By Grace R.
Student at Oxford Brookes University