With the security of student accommodation still a great concern, we spoke to Brian Thomson, Manager at Protect My Property, about how we can keep our properties secure, even when we aren’t around for the summer.
When do burglars strike the most?
According to this report from security commentator Safe Zone, almost 70% of recognised student accommodation is left vacant during the summer months. This can leave these properties vulnerable, particularly as they are usually built in close proximity to each other, making it easier for a burglar to target more than one property at a time.
Burglars aren’t usually very clever, but they are wise enough to realise that students go home in the summer, and hence this is when they are likely to target, particularly if expensive belongings are left inside accommodation over these vulnerable months. Students should take expensive electronic items such as televisions and computers away with them if they plan on leaving their accommodation for several months at a time.
Which areas of the property are most at risk?
It’s imperative that steps are taken to secure both the front door and the windows of a property. At very least, make sure that they are closed when you leave the property, even if it’s just for a night. Research from Manchester City Council recently found that one in three household burglaries result from easily accessible windows or even front doors from being left open.
Not only does this mean that your home is easy to break into, but also that the thieves have an easy point of escape when they get their hands on your belongings. With the mean replacement cost of stolen property being around £900 (according to this report from Staffordshire University), it’s feasible that burglars will be targeting high-value items as soon as they enter the property.
Does surveillance deter burglars?
The same study from Staffordshire University also found that, on average, students who were victims of burglary lived in accommodation with fewer surveillance measures than students who were not burgled. This suggests that surveillance measures are the most effective form of deterrence, even before the video and picture capture comes into play; simply having a CCTV camera is sometimes enough to put a burglar off.
Which universities experience the least crime?
Research from the Complete University Guide revealed that the University of Buckingham enjoys the lowest crime rates, while the Royal Northern College of Music experiences the highest. This is a matter of location, of course, as it can be derived from the study that areas experiencing the most burglaries are city-based, while those less at risk are usually in a rural setting.
As well as ensuring that doors and windows are locked every time the property is left alone, burglars can also be deterred with some fairly basic security equipment. Access control could be very useful in student accommodation, as it would require all access to the property to be authorised by use of a key card or fob. These would only be issued to those residing in the property or key personnel such as staff. It would not solve the problem outright, but would certainly go a long way in regulating who could enter the building at any given time.