Hello and welcome back to the Solon blog…
Late September means we are right in the thick of Student Season, with scholars old and new enjoying their respective Freshers Weeks up and down the UK.
That means Solon are keeping a special focus on Student Security. We’ve been busy supplying our university customers across the country with such student essentials as bike locks, personal attack alarms and anti-drink spiking equipment.
In keeping with this theme we are pleased to be able to present a brief Q&A on the subject of student security, from the perspective of a recent graduate; James Manson attended Sheffield Hallam University and read for a degree in History. He is now the Welfare and Community Officer at the university’s Student Union and very kindly agreed to share his experience with our readers below:
Q: Hi James. So what would you say is the biggest security threat to students during their time at university?
A: I’d say that the biggest security threat to students during their time at university is the risk of burglary. This is especially a threat to students that live in private rented accommodation and can easily be reduced. Students can take a few easy steps that can make their student houses a lot safer and lower the risk of burglary.
Q: What do you think are the main causes of student-related crime?
A: Regarding the issue of student related burglary I think the main reason behind this is that students, and specifically their student houses, are generally seen as easy targets by burglars. On top of this I think there is also the issue that students are not necessarily aware enough of the measures that they need to be taking to ensure that their houses are as safe as possible.
Q: As a student, have you or anybody you know been the victim of a crime? If so, what happened and do you think it could have been avoided?
A: Yes. When I was in first year my friends that were in second year living in private rented accommodation were victims of burglary. Unfortunately their house was robbed in the middle of the day and they lost a few of their more expensive items. Realistically I think if they had taken a few easy measures they would have massively reduced the risk of burglary. Things like remembering to keep the ground floor windows locked, leaving lights on and ensuring that valuable items are kept out of sight from ground floor windows.
Q: What steps did you/do you take to stay safe at uni? Has your attitude changed as you progressed from first year to second/third year? If so, why do you think this was?
A: Learning from my friends experiences I always try to ensure that ground floor windows and doors are locked, even when people are in the house. Where possible I also try to ensure that if I’m going out and the house is going to be empty I will leave a light on so that it looks like there is someone in the house, something that would more than likely deter any potential burglar. I also make sure that my valuables are kept well out of sight from the ground floor windows, this is particularly important if you have a ground floor bedroom. In terms of how my attitude might have changed between first year and third year, I’d say that it has become more safety conscious and a lot less naive to the threat of burglary, and student crime in general. I’d say that this was influenced mainly through the experiences that my friends had being burgled.
Q: Finally, what would be your advice for students, both new and returning, on avoiding becoming victims of crime at university?
A: I’d say that all students need to be conscious of crime and aware of the potential risks that they face and the implications that crime can have on a student’s experience at university. More often than not the risk of student crime can be reduced by taking a few simple and easy measures so I would say that students need to be aware of this and pay attention to the advice that students’ unions give around student safety.
Our thanks to James for his informative answers to our questions. For further information and advice on student security you can view our recent newsletter on the subject here, or visit the NUS security tips page here.