Why un­der­grad­u­ates should do their home­work on se­cu­rity

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Steffan Ge­orge

STU­DENTS are one of the high­est-risk groups for crime in the coun­try, of­ten tar­geted for high value lap­tops, TVs, and en­ter­tain­ment equip­ment which is fre­quently left in plain view and un­se­cured against in­trud­ers.

It’s im­por­tant, there­fore, that stu­dents are aware of how to keep them­selves and their pos­ses­sions safe.

Safety and se­cu­rity should be top of the agenda when they move into a new prop­erty, or re­turn to their old digs. By car­ry­ing out th­ese sim­ple mea­sures to main­tain a safe and se­cure prop­erty, we can put stu­dents’ (and par­ents’) minds at ease.

It is all too easy to as­sume that pre­vi­ous res­i­dents have handed in their keys and while this may well be the case, it does not mean that ex­tra copies have not been made by ei­ther for­mer res­i­dents, em­ploy­ees, con­trac­tors or even rogue trades­men.

It is im­por­tant for stu­dents and par­ents to ques­tion what lock­ing sys­tems are in place, when they were last re­placed and how the copy­ing of keys is con­trolled.

It is a land­lord’s duty to act in a re­spon­si­ble man­ner re­gard­ing the safety of ten­ants and they could con­sider in­stalling qual­ity locks with patented keys which can’t be copied with­out proof of own­er­ship or re­stricted keys which can’t be eas­ily copied due to their unique de­sign.

Ad­vice for stu­dents in halls of res­i­dence:

Re­quest in­for­ma­tion on the lock­ing sys­tems and how key du­pli­ca­tion is reg­u­lated, recorded and con­trolled.

Con­sider tak­ing full de­tails of any valu­ables and for elec­tronic items, make a note of the se­rial num­ber and con­sider ‘iden­tity mark­ing’ them.

Be aware also of any ‘tail­gat­ing’ where peo­ple can en­ter a front door with or im­me­di­ately af­ter a res­i­dent.

Ad­vice for stu­dents in pri­vate rented ac­com­mo­da­tion:

En­sure good qual­ity locks are on both the main door to the prop­erty and the bed­room door.

Walk around the ex­te­rior of the prop­erty mak­ing sure to note any ar­eas of po­ten­tial weak­ness and dis­cuss any is­sues with the land­lord.

In­spect doors and win­dows to make sure ap­pro­pri­ate locks are fit­ted, are in good con­di­tion and meet insurance re­quire­ments. Stu­dents can ask a vet­ted MLA lock­smith for ad­vice if they are un­sure.

Be sure to keep valu­able items out of sight, away from doors or win­dows, and re­mem­ber to lock rooms when­ever they’re un­oc­cu­pied.

Avoid the temp­ta­tion to hide a key un­der the door­mat or flower pot; crim­i­nals are very aware of the method, par­tic­u­larly in stu­dent ar­eas, and will of­ten check in the first in­stance, giv­ing them un­re­stricted ac­cess to stu­dents’ prop­erty and pos­ses­sions.

En­sure the prop­erty is in line with Houses of Mul­ti­ple Oc­cu­pancy (HMO) reg­u­la­tions – if a prop­erty is shared by three or more ten­ants who are not part of the same fam­ily, then it will be classed as an HMO.

It’s tempt­ing to leave doors open when re­lax­ing in the sun and friends are go­ing in and out of the prop­erty – and it’s all too easy for a thief to take ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion. A large pro­por­tion of stu­dent theft is down to “walk in” (gain­ing ac­cess through open doors) so stu­dents should be vig­i­lant and not for­get that sim­ply clos­ing a door doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean it’s locked!

If a room or shared house is go­ing to be left un­oc­cu­pied for a num­ber of weeks, stu­dents should make sure that all valu­ables are ei­ther re­moved from the prop­erty or taken out of view.

If they have a trusted fam­ily mem­ber or friend who can check on the prop­erty while they’re away, they should leave a key with them.

Stu­dents should take note of the num­ber of their near­est MLA li­censed lock­smith by vis­it­ing www.lock­smiths.co.uk.

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