While we would love to think our campus home is a safe little bubble, the truth is that incidents of theft cannot be ignored. When living in a large shared space, or taking your expensive technology to and from classrooms and quads, it’s important to stay alert and do all you can to keep your priceless items safe and sound. These proven methods are the best way to protect your valuables in college.
How to Protect Your Valuables While in College
Before Moving Day
One option parents and students may want to consider is investing in renters insurance. In many cases, renters insurance extends to dorm rooms — or the company (or even the college) may provide a special, low cost insurance specific to dorm living. The deductible for the policy should be low, but it should cover the cost of the more expensive items you will need, such as your computer, a television, and the estimated cost of all your clothing.
You should also double check your car insurance policy to ensure that it is updated to your new home on campus. You may also want to up your coverage for theft and damages because parking in a lot can put you at a higher risk for incidents.
In a Dorm Room
When it comes to expensive jewelry or other items that are not really “necessary”, your best bet is to keep it at home. Your grandmother’s pearls can be replicated with a cheap knockoff, but they can’t be replaced if it’s taken or lost. The same goes for tech you don’t really need to get by, such as a printer or a supersized television.
If you do need to bring a few expensive items with you, purchase a fire-proof lock box for documents — such as passports, licenses, birth certificates, or cash. With larger items, you can additionally find travel trunks that are heavy duty and come with the ability to be locked.
Speaking of locks, don’t forget your bike lock if you plan on cycling around campus! While it’s tempting to stick to cheaper versions, those savvy in picking or removing locks can get through those in seconds. The more complicated the lock, the better. Be sure you learn how best to lock it up so that you’re not just left with a frame or one wheel.
Your bike and electronics should also be photographed and if they have serial numbers, write them down so that in case they are stolen, you can prove that they belong to you. Some campuses offer licenses for items like bikes and cars that keep this information on file for you.
In Public Spaces
Your bike, car, or other method of transportation should be parked in a well-lit area. The same goes for places you live and work. Avoid a study room that’s in the back corner in case you have to leave your stuff for a moment. And stick to the most popular paths home, even if it’s longer, if it is late at night (better yet, use the buddy system!).
When working in public areas like a cafe, you can keep your laptop safe by using a portable laptop lock that keeps your computer attached to a mounted item, such as a table leg. You can also purchase backpack locks that keep your bags zipped up when you’re distracted.
Finally, don’t forget about your wallet and purse. Even in class, be sure your wallet isn’t exposed when you’re sitting. For a purse or bag, wrap the bag’s strap around a chair leg and place the body up against your leg.
While you may have to go an extra step or pay a little more for a better item, you can never be too safe or too protective when it comes to your items.
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