Students and their landlords are being urged by the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) to tighten up security procedures in order to avoid becoming victims of crime when university term starts again.
Students are one of the highest ‘at risk’ groups when it comes to crime, and are often targeted for high value laptops, TVs and entertainment equipment which is all-too-frequently left in plain view and unsecured against intruders.
As letting out a house or flat to students is a thriving business, the MLA is urging landlords to make home security a top priority to ensure that tenants, property and possessions are safe.
Students are also being warned to take simple precautions to prevent their possessions and equipment from being stolen when they move into a new property – or return to their old digs – at the end of September.
The MLA is encouraging youngsters and their parents to question what locking systems are in place, when they were last replaced and how the copying of keys is controlled.
The organisation advises landlords to consult an MLA-approved locksmith, who will be able to carry out a security assessment on property and recommend suitable locks and fittings, as well as providing input from a safety point of view.
Dr Steffan George, development director at the MLA, said: “Whether they’re going to university for the first time or returning to study for another year, students will often find themselves in new accommodation. It’s important that they’re fully aware of security to keep themselves and their possessions safe as students are often regarded as an easy target by thieves.”
George continued: “By taking simple precautions, landlords and students can avoid many of the risks that can lead to crime and taint the student experience. It’s landlords’ duty to act in a responsible manner and they should install quality locks with patented keys which cannot be copied without proof of ownership or restricted keys that cannot be easily copied due to their unique design.”
The MLA has issued the following guidelines to students and landlords:
- Ensure good quality locks are installed on both the main door and the bedroom door. For convenience, the locks can be configured so that each individual bedroom key also opens the front door
- Inspect doors and windows to make sure appropriate locks are fitted, in good condition and meet insurance requirements. If unsure, ask a vetted MLA locksmith for advice and a full security assessment
- Keep valuable items out of sight, away from doors or windows, and remember to lock rooms and the front door when you go out
- Don’t hide a key under a doormat or flower pot as criminals are aware of this method, particularly in student areas
- Don’t leave doors open when outside or if friends are going in and out of the property as a thief can take advantage
- If a room or property is going to be unoccupied for a number of weeks, students should take all valuables with them or make sure they are out of view
- When entering the property, ensure that nobody ‘tailgates’ you and gains entry
- Ensure locks are correctly specified regarding egress in homes of multiple occupancy (exit without the use of a key is required in flats, apartments and shared houses with locks on individual bedroom doors)