According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics, 13,500 thefts were reported on college campuses in 2014. Electronics like smartphones were the number one type of item stolen, and bikes were a close second, with a nearly 50-percent chance that a student’s bike will be stolen over the course of his or her studies.
Check out these tips to avoid becoming a victim of campus theft:
- Know what you own
Know what you own, particularly if you live in shared accommodations, and look around periodically to make sure nothing is missing. Keep a list of what you lend out, as well—it’s easy to forget who borrowed what item!
- Don’t leave belongings unattended
Libraries and coffee shops are places rife with theft, with students leaving laptops and other belongings behind during bathroom breaks. If you need to be away from your study materials, at least bring valuable electronics with you.
- Protect your data
Be careful whenever using public computers, particularly those requiring a sign-in. Students frequently forget to log out, giving strangers access to private information.
- Strong passwords and smart social media use
Use strong passwords and be mindful of what information you post to social media platforms. You never know who might make take advantage of the things you put into the public domain.
- Use renters insurance
Consider taking out renter’s insurance for your dorm or any other place of residence. Doing so is inexpensive—a standard policy runs between $15 and $30 a month.
- Use a U-Lock for your bike
U-Locks are thicker and harder to cut than regular locks. For best results, make sure all detachable components of your bike are either removed, in the case of seats, or properly secured, in the case of detachable front wheels.
- Stay on top of financial records
Keep financial records (like credit card statements, phone bills, and anything that includes your social security number or date of birth) in a safe place. And keep an eye on your financial statements for signs of fraud.
Students take around 94 days to notice fraud—and the average amount stolen from a student is $2,693, versus an average of $1,513 for other victims.