As many students begin or return to university or college we want you to understand how to stay safe, how to protect your property and how to be a good neighbour.
Take a look at our advice below to find out how you can keep yourself as safe as possible.
Student Safety Advice
Your first few weeks
Starting university or college can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but it can also bring its own unique challenges. It is completely natural to feel nervous or overwhelmed during your first few weeks, but our main advice is to take care of yourself. Below are some practical steps you can take to help you settle in and adjust to student life:
- Familiarise yourself with the local area as soon as you can.
- Build relationships with your flat mates and swap mobile phone numbers.
- Find out where your local police station and hospital are and save the police non-emergency number 101 in your phone.
- Save the numbers of reputable taxi firms in your phone.
If you are living away from home, it’s a good idea to take steps that will help keep you safe whilst on campus and out and about in the city.
Whether you are living in student halls, or a city centre flat there are simple measures you can take to keep yourself and your property safe.
- Keep your doors and windows locked wherever you are out.
- Be mindful of tailgaters to your building.
- Keep your high value items such as tablets out of sight and secure them when you are not using them.
- Consider marking your property before going to university.
Secure your bicycle. Double locking is the best protection for locking any bike. Whatever the type of lock, look for the SBD logo or “Gold Secure”.
- Secure your bike as close to the stand as possible to give any thieves little or no room to manoeuvre.
- Lock the frame and both wheels to the cycle parking stand.
- Locks are considered vulnerable when they come into contact with the ground, so keep them off the floor.
Property Marking and Registration
- We recommend that you mark and register your property using a secured By Design Approved property marking solution and advertise the fact using window stickers.
- You can register your property FOR FREE using Immobilise, a national, police approved database.
The internet and social networking sites are great for connecting with other people. However, it is important to think carefully about what you're posting, and who has access to it.
- Never disclose private information such as your phone number or address to others or on online sites.
- If you arrange to meet someone in person that you have met online make sure you meet in a populated public space. Do not accept lifts from the person you are meeting. Tell a friend or family member where you are going and what time you expect to return.
- Do not send compromising or explicit images or videos irrespective of what is sent to you. It may be a sexploitation scam.
- When using social networks be aware that much of the information becomes public by default and is easy to search for.
- Avoid posting personal details or anything that could be used to steal your identity.
- Assess your privacy settings on your social networking sites so that only friends can see your personal information.
Mobile Phone Security
Keep your phone locked at all times - Lock screen with passcode, pattern, fingerprint or facial recognition. Lock when idle for 30 seconds to one minute.
Set secure passwords - Set strong passwords with uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. Set a different password for each app.
Keep your devices updated - Make sure that your devices are updated with the latest software. Here’s how:
- IOS > General > software update
- Android > about phone > system update
Connect to secure wifi - Beware of networks that aren't password protected and use a VPN.
Beware of downloads - Use verified app stores. Look at app reviews, recent updates and contact information.
Encrypt your data - Your smartphone holds a lot of data. If it is lost or stolen your emails, contacts, financial information and more can be at risk. To protect your mobile phone data:
Install anti-virus software - This can protect against viruses, malware and hackers.
Don’t jailbreak or root your phone - This is when you unlock your phone - This is when you unlock your phone and remove safety features making it less secure and easy to hack.
Enable apps to find and track mobile phones.
For more information about staying safe whilst using your Apple or Android device visit www.cyberstreetwise.com or www.getsafeonline.org.
It’s important to have fun, but don’t forget to look after yourself and others:
- Never accept drinks from strangers.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended.
- Try to alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks.
- Know your drinking limits. Alcohol lowers your guard and may affect your judgement and decision making.
- Stay with your group of friends and look out for each other.
- Plan your journey in advance, including the journey home. Try to travel with other people you know if possible.
- Make sure you have extra money in case you get stranded or miss the last bus or train.
- Avoid shortcuts and isolated areas.
- Stay away from confrontational situations.
Moving to a New Flat or Area
If you are moving out of student accommodation or moving to a new flat, check its security before moving in. When living with a group of friends there will always have to be compromises; just make sure it’s not on the security of the property.
- Get to know the area you are moving to. Speak to other students and check the crime statistics.
- Check the security of the property. Are the doors and windows secure? Does the property have an alarm? How many different people have keys? Read our home security pages for further advice.
- Find out if the property is registered with an approved scheme or code of practice. This will ensure that it has the appropriate safety and security certifications such as fire precautions, gas appliance safety and appropriate locks.
- Don’t sign a contract until you are absolutely sure that the property is right for you.