Off to university? The new university term is just around the corner and while students will be busy packing all the essentials (you know, knives and forks… the odd book… computer games…) it’s also important to spare a thought for security. Leaving home for the first time to go to university can be a pretty daunting experience and, while it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of Freshers’ Week and meeting new people, it’s also important to be aware of personal safety and home security. Avoid being a student statistic Statistics from the National Union of Students website reveal that a shocking one in five students fall victim to crime while studying at college or university; with the average cost of a break-in standing at £900 to repair the damage and replace belongings. Opportunist burglars target student halls and houses, as bedroom and flat doors are often left unlocked or ajar, making it a quick in-and-out job for a burglar. Remember to take extra care on move-in day not to leave your room unattended. The hustle and bustle of bags and boxes coming and going can provide the perfect cover for a burglar to strike unnoticed. It is also important to remember to close and lock all doors and windows whenever you’re not in – even if you’re only popping out for a few minutes. With so many new things going on we understand it can be hard to remember everything, so we advise investing in a home safe to keep your valuables secure. The value safe is ideal because it’s affordable and comes in various sizes. Another top tip is to avoid leaving notes on your door saying you’re away or ‘back soon’ – instead tell your friends face-to-face so they can act as an unofficial student watch while you’re out. Cycling to lectures? Bicycles are a great way to get around. They are convenient and great exercise, but unfortunately thieves like them too! To keep your bike safe and secure it’s advisable to invest in a sturdy bike lock. For maximum protection, use two different locks simultaneously (a D-lock and robust chain and padlock is ideal). Hitting the town Personal safety also needs to be high on the agenda. After evenings out sampling the local nightlife try to travel home with friends or in a reputable, licenced taxi – remember, there is safety in numbers! If you do walk home, try to stick to main roads and avoid poorly lit areas – especially dodgy looking shortcuts and dingy alleyways. For additional security and priceless peace of mind it’s a good idea to carry a personal attack alarm. Yale’s personal attack alarm has a built in siren and cord loop for convenience, it’s simply activated, easy to carry, discreet and can take a real weight off your mind when it comes to personal safety. So remember: work hard, play hard and stay safe this term.