Over the Christmas holidays, many students return home to spend the festivities with their families, leaving their term-time accommodation empty.
Popular student areas of university towns and cities across the country can be regular targets for break-ins at any time of year, but it’s over the festive period that incidents can peak. Would-be-thieves take what they can carry so student gadgets such as laptops, tablets, phones, games consoles and even bicycles are often stolen.
Properties are usually targeted when burglars know they are vacant. Over Christmas and New Year, the majority of student accommodation will lie unoccupied for up to four weeks! Whilst protecting your house from thieves, there are also some essential maintenance issues we ask you and your housemates to think about before heading home for the holidays. Here are our student home security tips:
If anything is broken, tell us. We’ll need to fix it before you leave. This doesn’t just apply to the Christmas break, but all year round; if we don’t know something is broken, we can’t fix it. It’s your responsibility to inform us of any damages or faults within your property.
Don’t shout about the fact you’re away from your property on Facebook. Today’s criminals are clever and will lurk on social media sites to find their victims. A seemingly innocent post about heading home for Christmas can be all they need to know a property is going to be empty.
Ensure your contents are insured. If you have several gadgets, the combined cost to replace them if lost or stolen can really mount up. There are specialist student insurers which are easy to find with a quick internet search so at least if the worst happens, you know your belongings can be replaced.
Mistoria properties have locks on all external windows and doors. They are there for your protection and must be used whenever you are not in the property. Before you head home for Christmas make doubly sure all windows and doors are locked and where fitted, ensure the intruder alarm is also set. Test this now and if it’s broken, let us know so we can replace it asap.
Do not leave anything of value on show that may be visible from the outside or to someone peering in through the window. Thieves know younger people aren’t always as aware when it comes to home security and this can be another reason student homes and areas are targets for burglaries.
24 hour socket timers are inexpensive and extremely effective in the prevention of burglaries. They work by intermittently turning lights on and off to make it appear like your home is occupied. There are some short 60 second videos on the GMP website (Greater Manchester Police) that offer further advice and easy to follow steps to keep your home safe if you’re going away.
Aside from security measures, before you pack up and head home for Christmas, we also ask our tenants to leave the heating on at a low setting for short periods each day and ensure that the system cannot drop below a set temperature that can lead to frozen pipes.
We also advise emptying the fridge before you leave of anything that is likely to go off whilst you’re away – think dairy, meats and fresh fruit and veg – and take out the bins. Nobody wants to come back to a sinking fridge and kitchen in January!
Wishing all our tenants a safe and merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, from all at Mistoria!