Security and Safety
The importance of security and safety cannot be overstated, for obvious reasons. There are three elements of this that you will need to consider:
Security at Home
The safety and security of you and your belongings at home is paramount. Home is where you should feel safe and is where you will keep your most valuable belongings most of the time.
There some simple steps you can take to make sure your house/room is as secure as possible. Student houses are often prime targets for thieves:
- Make sure you lock your bedroom door when you go out. If you do not lock up properly, you may struggle to claim on your insurance should anything go wrong. If your bedroom door does not have a secure lock, ask your landlord to replace it and make sure your valuables are out of sight when you leave the house.
- Keep your keys, key card or fob for entry on your person whenever you go out, no matter how long you think you may be. Some houses or flats will ‘auto-lock’ after a certain time and you will likely need to pay for somebody to come and let you in.
- Check doors and windows are locked at night or when going out (including upstairs windows). Don’t assume someone else will do it - if you all assume this, no one will.
- When leaving for the holidays, it can be a good idea to leave a light on a timer switch in your house. Leaving a light on may deter burglars from entering the property if they think someone is inside. You can purchase timer switches online or in hardware/supermarket stores.
- Don’t leave any valuables on show at any time, but particularly when you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time. It may only take a few minutes for your possessions to be stolen or damaged by an opportunist burglar.
- Make a list of your personal property including the serial number and descriptions. You can use an ultra-violet pen to mark electrical and other items with your postcode or other unique forms of identification. You can register valuables such as phones, laptops and bicycles with the UK National Property register for free here. You may also wish to take a photograph of your purse/wallet, keys, laptop or any other valuables in case they are stolen or lost.
- Always lock doors, windows, the boot and sunroof when leaving your car, even if it’s only for a few minutes. An opportunist thief may only need 30 seconds to break in. Never leave personal belongings on show, no matter how long you leave your car unattended.
- If you have a car at university, never leave belongings in your car – even an old coat could tempt a thief if they think there might be something of value in the pockets. If you have to leave anything, lock it in the boot out of sight.
- Keep your car topped up with petrol and try to park in a well lit area. Make sure you have the correct permit or ticket to park to avoid fines or clamps. Check for signage on your street to confirm this.
- Always think ahead and make a plan with other people as to how your are going to get home. If you are going out drinking, it is best to do this before you start. If you suddenly find yourself very drunk and wanting your bed, it is easy but potentially very dangerous to wander off alone. Although incidents are uncommon, they do happen and you need to be mindful of the risk you are taking if not with others.
- Walk home in groups or with a friend when it is dark. If you are getting a taxi, it is still sensible to do this with a friend. If you can’t go with someone, always let somebody know where you’re going and with who. The Students’ Union operates a Safe Taxi scheme with Dragon Taxis, which is available for all students. This scheme allows you to travel even if you do not have any way to pay at the time. You will need to show your student card and will need to pay later.
- Never leave drinks unattended in pubs or clubs. Both males and females can both be at risk of ‘spiking’. Keep an eye on yours and your friends’ drinks at all times and never return to a drink if you have left it unattended.
- If you cycle, make sure you’ve taken measures to secure your bike. Cardiff is a small city and bikes are a great mode of transport for students but they are expensive! Your bike lock may not be impenetrable so where possible, keep your bikes inside a bike shed, your property or in your garden, locked up with a sufficient bike lock.
- Avoid flashing the cash or any items of value when out and about. Keep your cash, cards and personal belongings out of sight and make sure they are in a safe and secure area. If you don’t already, get a wallet or purse to store cards and cash - loose cards and change are easy to lose and a pain to replace! If you carry your wallet/purse in your bag, try to put it in the main part of the bag rather than the most accessible front pocket. If it’s easily accessible to you, it’s easily accessible to a thief too.
- When using a cash machine, try to use it in daylight or well-lit areas. Be wary of people standing too close and conceal your PIN number when you type it in. Take your card and cash promptly.
Online Safety and Identity Theft
- Moving is exciting but do not post your new address online. Similarly, don’t share your bank details with anyone. If this information is picked up by a stranger (not an honest Cardiff University student), your details could be used for anything without your permission.
- Be careful what you throw out. Any official letters, such as those from the University, bank or Student Finance, can give enough information for someone to steal, or start to steal, your identity. All a thief really needs is your name, address and date of birth to get started.
- Never share personal information with anyone on social media sites, no matter who is asking for it. Your bank, the Government or any other authority is highly unlikely to use social media to contact you for any personal, sensitive reason. You can ask them to confirm their identity with their name, email address and telephone number - you can then check with the ‘real’ organisation to identify a scam.
- Be wary of online fraud on second hand sales sites and apps. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Always pay ‘in-app’ or via a trusted payment site, such as PayPal, and never by direct bank transfer.
- If you think someone has created a social media profile pretending to be you, report it immediately to the social media site. There are reporting tools on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others. If necessary, you may also wish to contact the Police. Contact Student Advice if this becomes necessary.
- Make sure you are the only person who knows your passwords, and change them often. Never use the same password for all social media, email or personal accounts.
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410