Protect Yourself From Theft

Keys.

One of the most exciting aspects of college is becoming part of a new residential community.  No longer are you living under your parents’ roof, but beside your peers.  Whether it’s a dorm or a new apartment, it’s fun to unpack the cardboard boxes and get your room looking like your new home.  However, while you’ll eventually become comfortable in your new residence, you shouldn’t become lackadaisical in keeping that space secure.  Unfortunately, living on your own comes with the risk of theft.  The following tips are easy ways to help prevent theft:

Keep your door locked!
Odds are you’ve heard this piece of advice before, whether it be from an RA or your parents.  Always keep your door locked.  Hopefully, if you live in an off-campus apartment, you always follow this rule.  However, in a dorm setting, keeping your door unlocked or propping it open with a doorstop can seem like a convenient and harmless thing to do.  The most tempting time to do this is when you know you’re only leaving your room for a short period of time.  Maybe you’re going down a floor to put in a load of laundry or maybe you’re just going down the hall to the bathroom.  You need to remember that it doesn’t take long for someone to slip into your room and snatch an easy target like your laptop.  It takes seconds to use a key and unlock your door–leaving it unlocked just isn’t worth the risk.  So once more, keep your door locked!

Put your belongings away
Before you leave your room, it’s always smart to put all valuables away.  If you’re leaving behind your wallet, don’t leave it out in the open–store it someplace out of sight.  The same goes for expensive items like mp3 players and cameras.  Laptops are greatly sought after in college settings, so pay close attention to yours.  Unplug it and disconnect it from the internet.  You could even consider carving your name or initials somewhere on it; this will not only make it easily identifiable for authorities, but it just might even stop the burglar from swiping it since it would be more difficult to sell.

Don’t lose your keys
Make sure to never lose your keys!  If someone picks them up, they will have easy access to your room at any time.  Not only is it a security issue, but most colleges and apartment complexes enforce a fine for lost keys.  They might even go through the expensive and inconvenient process of getting the locks changed.  So make sure to always have your room key on you.  An easy solution is to keep your keys with your wallet (which should also have your school ID in it).  Put them in a compartment in the wallet or use a key ring.

Keep track of visitors
If you’re living with one or more other people, be mindful of who enters your space.  Whether it’s a roommate, suitemate, or apartment-mate, be aware that they can bring guests over while you’re not around.  Make sure that you to leave your room secure.  Don’t have any valuables lying around and make sure to bring your cash with you.  It’s a “better safe than sorry” scenario when people you don’t know might have access to your bedroom.

Know who to call
Program the numbers for campus security or campus police into your cellphone.  This way, if there is a problem, you’ll be able to report it immediately.  If you live in an off-campus apartment, find out who to contact for security issues in your building.  And, of course, don’t forget 911!

Be cautious to avoid theft during your time in college.  Keep in mind that when you go away for extended periods of time, it provides greater opportunities for burglars.  Insurance Information Institute offers theft prevention tips for when you’re away on a summer vacation, but they are also applicable for times during the school year, like school breaks.  Don’t give anyone the chance to steal from you–remember these theft prevention tips and keep your belongings protected! Insurance can be a major asset in these type of situations so check out GradGuard’s renters insurance!

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