Student Survival Handbook

Student Survival handbook logo

University or college life should create some of your best memories… but be aware! Some criminals see students as “easy targets”

Follow our guide and make your student experiences ones to remember for all the right reasons!

You will need some or all of these things:

  • Contents insurance to cover all your belongings.
  • Accommodation with good quality door and window locks.
  • Timer switches to make your digs appear occupied, even when you are out.
  • A quality lock for your bike.
  • Back-up memory sticks or external hard drives to record your work onto.
  • A record of anything you may need in an emergency - bank details, card and passport numbers and any telephone numbers you may need to report them lost or stolen.
  • A map of the campus
  • Contact details from reliable taxi companies and bus time tables
  • Note down makes models and serial numbers belonging to all your property so you could identify it should it go missing.
  • Register your property for free at

Are your digs asking for it?

For most of you living on your own, for the first time, is exciting.  You will be choosing your own digs… But what about security?

How safe are you, in your room? Take this test and find out…

  • Do the front and rear doors feel solid and close properly and can be locked to keep them firmly shut?
  • If the external door locks are deadlocks, do you use them? (Burglars hate these, because they need a key to be opened)
  • Is my own room door solid and does it have a secure lock?
  • Will you have flat mates and will you all keep the doors and windows locked, even when someone is at home?
  • Are my valuables, such as cash, laptops, mobiles kept out of view and hidden away from any burglar looking through my flat windows?
  • Have you registered your property on the free registration site
  • Does the flat have a burglar alarm and will you all bother to use it?
  • Does the garden appear secure with a lockable gate and will it keep out prowlers?
  • Is there any outside lighting, especially at the back, where most burglaries occur?
  • Will you buy a timer switch to make your digs look as if someone is home, even when you are out?



What If you live in Halls? The majority of thefts in Halls result from students propping doors open and leaving windows open when they are not in the room.

Here’s a mini test to see if you will be safe:

If you live in Halls, do you make sure no one follows you in through the main entrance?
If you answer the front door and don’t recognise the caller would you take them to whoever they were visiting or would you just leave them to roam the corridors?
Would you leave notes on your door saying “I’m out” or give any security access codes to delivery companies?
Would you lock your flat even if you’ve just popped down the corridor to see a mate?

“I left my bedroom window open when I went to a lecture. I thought it would be safe because there were so many people around. When I got back, my room had been ransacked. My flatmates were furious, as their rooms could have been next. I couldn’t have made it easier for the burglar!”

Ted, 3rd year student

Don't let them steal your degree - crime prevention notice

Property registering… Why bother? – Criminal don’t like stolen property that links them to a crime, which they can be prosecuted for. So make sure yours is registered on the police approved, property web site

Searchable by all 43 Forces, registered second hand dealers and the general public wanting to check a second hand item before making a purchase. Make your own private register and by checking any item on your list as either lost or stolen, it becomes instantly searchable across the UK. Property is being recovered today with the help of immobilise, so why not add yours to the list?


Don’t carry it around if you don’t need it. If you do, disguise it in a rucksack. Never leave it on show through a window in your flat or on a seat in a car. If you are working on it in a library or public space, never leave it unattended. Load a tracking app either from Apple or for android devices and always make sure you back up your work. Note its make model and serial number and register it at

Motorbikes and scooters:

Never rely on the manufacturers fork lock to keep them safe. Always lock them with a quality lock and chain and anchor them to something solid. Have an approved alarm fitted and always leave it covered up from the weather and any prying eyes. Busy car parks are best when out and about and a shed or garage at home will help keep it safe.


85% of all cycles stolen were locked with a cheap, poor quality lock. Buy a decent D lock. You could check out Neighbourhood Network for some great offers. Always lock your bike to something solid, even when it’s in the shed. Keep it out of view when at home. Record your frame number and include this when making your property list at

Mobile phones:

As they are highly desirable to thieves, so don’t flash yours. Download and install a tracking App either from Apple or for android devices. Never leave your mobile unattended especially in cafes, libraries or night clubs. These should be top of your list when making your property list at


Most cars need their keys present for them to be stolen by the average criminal. So keep your keys hidden and secure. Always leave your car locked and fit an alarm and remember to use it. Most cars which are broken into have something on display. Don’t leave cash, bags or mobiles on view, even a carrier bag of rubbish in the foot well, may look interesting to an opportunist thief and may still cost you a replacement window.

Going out on the town crime prevention image

Most students enjoy sampling the local nightlife. Some of those may regret doing something that they rather would have not done, or found themselves at a police station reporting a theft or worse still being assaulted.

If you think it’s easy to steal a flag or other keep sake from a bar, then it’s even easier for someone to steal your hand bag, a tenner from your wallet or your mobile phone.

On a night out, be constantly aware:

  • Of where your belonging are,
  • That the more you drink, the less bothered you will be about your stuff and what you get up to!

Who’s eyeing you up?

What you need to know about spiking

  • Spiking drinks with alcohol or drugs does happen.
  • People may do it “to be funny”, out of spite or anger, to rob you or to leave you open to assault.
  • It can take only minutes to take effect and it may wipe out hours of memory.

Protecting yourself on a night out

Enjoy yourselves with friends, keep together and look after each other.

Book a taxi from a registered company and make sure your journey home is arranged. Travelling with a friend is much more fun than on your own and does help keep you safe.

Only take the money and things out with you which you will need and make sure you save enough cash for the fare home.

Don’t let yourself or friends get isolated, especially with strangers and even more so when you have had plenty to drink and are maybe… not your normal selves!

If your friends wouldn’t normally do that when they were sober, then it’s time to be a “good mate” and take them home.

Don’t leave drinks unattended and never accept a drink handed to you by a stranger…do you really know what’s in it?

If you do suddenly feel unusually drunk, ask someone you trust to get you home and if you have got yourself isolated, go to the bar or door staff and tell them you need help.

Never take chances and walk home after a “good night out”…you could be easy to spot and may make a very vulnerable target.


helplines image

If you need more advice the following helplines will help


National Union of Students


In an emergency call the police on 999

When it’s less urgent contact them on 101

If you have any information about a crime or criminal activity and don’t want to speak with the police you could talk to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They won’t ask your name just what you know. Your help could help make your community safer.


Victim Support: Ask for support by contacting them online or calling 0808 16 89 111

Suzy Lamplugh: A national charity dedicated to promoting ways which people can keep safe whether at home, work, whilst studying or just out enjoying themselves. Find out more here.


Provides all you need to know about drugs and the risks. Helpline 0300 123 6600. Or text your question to 82111


Advice on online socialising, shopping and how to enjoy the internet whilst staying safe