Back in the day, university students didn’t really have much worth stealing – a few notebooks and an old cassette walkman not really being all that valuable. These days, however, things are very different and the average student wanders around campus with hundreds, if not thousands of pounds worth of tech – laptops, tablets, phones, portable games consoles and Mp3 players being just some of the things you are likely to be carrying when you head off to your lectures or to socialise. While a lot of this stuff definitely makes studying easier, and also helps you enjoy university life more by allowing you to communicate and interact socially on the go, it has naturally lead to a big increase in the amount of crime that goes on on university campuses and other places where a lot of students hang out, like pubs and coffee shops.
If you are at university or are planning to go next year, it is important to be aware of the risks of personal theft and do what you can to protect yourself. Losing something like a phone or a laptop is bad enough for anyone, but when it contains all of your coursework and is the only means you have to study and communicate it can be truly devastating. Most universities offer their own specific advice relating to locations on their sites, however from a general perspective, here is what you need to know:
Keep an Eye on Your Stuff
It sounds pretty basic, but most thefts occur because someone is distracted and an opportunist spots a chance to grab something and take it. If you always keep your possessions where you can either see or feel them, the risk is far less. Don’t even leave your devices on a table while you can’t see them, whether you are in a bar or the library, and don’t assume your friends will watch your stuff while you go to the bathroom or outside for a moment – they could be distracted too and then you can lose your stuff. When you are walking, cycling or using public transport, also make sure you are aware of where your stuff is at all times – pickpocketing is a big problem in some places and you don’t want to end up losing your phone or wallet without realizing.
Only Take What You Need Out With You
When you are setting out for the day or going out in the evening, don’t carry all your hardware with you out of habit. It could be that all you really need is your phone, so why risk having your laptop, tablet and PSP stolen? There really is no need to walk around like a branch of Dixons every time you go out for a drink, so think about what you are actually likely to use while you are out and leave everything else at home, safe and secure.
Activate Security Features on Your Devices
Nearly all phones and other devices have at least a basic PIN activated lock on them, but a lot of people don’t use these as they find it to be a bit of a pain to have to enter the code every time they want to use the device. Activating a lock and also any other security features (such as ‘Find My Phone’ on an iPhone) is actually pretty important, though. While it won’t stop your device getting stolen, it will make it harder for a thief to get in and see your data. If your phone is unlocked with just a swipe, anyone who gets their hands on it can be into your email, your social media accounts, and even things like online banking. A simple passcode protects all of this information, and takes only a split second to enter.
Insurance may seem like an expense you could do without when you are struggling to get by as a student, but it is worth every penny when you think how much your tech devices are worth and how much you depend on them. If you have something really good like a top end Macbook, can you really afford to replace it if it gets stolen or broken? It is generally much more economical to invest in some good gadget insurance, for example Protect Your Bubble laptop insurance. This type of insurance is designed specifically to cover your most valuable and necessary equipment, and will make sure you can get a replacement fast if the worst happens. This can be a total life saver when you have deadlines for course work and you need your computer to study and write.
By taking good care of your stuff and having insurance there just in case, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a hassle free time with your gadgets at university!
About the author:
Laura Ginn advises all students to keep a close eye on their valuable belongings. She urges those that cannot afford to replace lost items to purchase insurance.