Tag Archives: University

MLA issues stark security warning to students and landlords ahead of new university term

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.

Dr Steffan George: development director at the MLA

Dr Steffan George: development director at the MLA

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)
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University of York heightens staff and student safety thanks to CriticalArc’s SafeZone solution

The University of York launched CriticalArc’s SafeZone solution on Thursday 8 January to provide round-the-clock safety reassurance for students and staff alike. York is the first university in the Russell Group to roll out this simple-to-use and free application which is designed to help those on campus summon security or safety assistance via their mobile phone.

The SafeZone system allows security or First Aid personnel to pinpoint the exact location of where help is needed. It also provides students and staff with a way of swiftly summoning general assistance from the Security Services Help Desk just by tapping an on-screen button.

Alcuin Bridge at The University of York (copyright: Tim Ball)

Alcuin Bridge at The University of York (copyright: Tim Ball)

By way of the SafeZone app, nearly 20,000 students and staff will be able to access three main features: Emergency, First Aid and General Help. Emergency and First Aid options will bring security or First Aid-trained officers to the location of the call, while the General Help button connects directly to the Campus Services Help Desk.

The SafeZone system will also help the University of York’s management team send targeted notification messages to students and staff alike in the event of an incident occurring in particular areas or buildings on campus.

CriticalArc's Safe Zone app on an iPhone

CriticalArc’s Safe Zone app on an iPhone

Security staff across campus put SafeZone through exhaustive, month-long trials and, this week, The University of York will stage a series of Roadshows to explain how students and staff can sign up for the new app.

In practice, SafeZone works within designated zones covering Heslington West, Heslington East, the King’s Manor and the University Boathouse.

Swift and efficient personnel deployment

Denis Fowler, the University of York’s director of Health and Safety, explained: “Our campus is already very safe but SafeZone affords students and staff extra reassurance that assistance is no more than the touch of a button away. The system allows us to monitor the positions of security personnel and First Aiders so that we can deploy them swiftly and efficiently to provide assistance and support to individuals where necessary. Previously, in the event of an emergency on site many students automatically called 999 but SafeZone provides a more targeted method of summoning assistance across the campus.”

Heslington Hall (copyright: The University of York)

Heslington Hall (copyright: The University of York)

The University of York has worked closely with CriticalArc to introduce the system. Darren Chalmers-Stevens, EMEA director at CriticalArc, said: “SafeZone’s adoption at the University of York is testament to how this solution can revolutionise the way in which educational institutions manage their day-to-day security and safety operations while ensuring a safer learning environment.”

Chalmers-Stevens added: “SafeZone provides security teams and first responders with the right information very quickly such that they can improve their ability to react to situations both efficiently and appropriately. By providing an unobtrusive security application versus traditional physical security equipment, we’re empowering the University of York to mitigate risk and improve brand reputation through enhanced Duty of Care while gaining significant efficiencies for the management team through the improved deployment of manned response personnel.”

The Law and Management Building (copyright: BDP)

The Law and Management Building (copyright: BDP)

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