5 Tips for Keeping Things “Safe” on Campus

From text books to laptops, parents of college-bound students spend thousands of dollars preparing their children for a new school year. Now that the back-to-school dust has settled, it’s important to know how to keep that stuff safe.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, property theft is the number one crime on college campuses, affecting an estimated one in 10 students. Additionally, a college campus is now the third most common place to have a laptop stolen, with 24,000 cases of laptop burglary each year, according to a recently released report from Absolute Data’s Theft Recovery Team. As a result of the high rate of laptop theft, college students also are more likely to become victims of identity theft. The Better Business Bureau reports that it takes young adults ages 18-24 the longest time to detect identity theft, resulting in an average of $1,156 lost – nearly five times the amount lost by other age groups.

Better “Safe” Than Sorry

You may be alarmed by these statistics (I was, too, when I first saw them), but there are many ways to make sure your children’s valuables stay safe on campus. My number one piece of advice for protecting against theft is to invest in a safe. Here are some other tips to help protect valuables:

  • Find a Perfect Fit: Safes are available in a variety of sizes, and it’s important to select one that will fit your child’s most valuable possessions. If your child has a major that requires hundreds of dollars worth of text books, purchase a larger safe that has a lot of space. If your child’s most valuable items are small gadgets, consider a smaller safe that is ideal for holding cell phones, iPads and other electronic devices.
  • Lock Up: Most home burglaries (that includes dorms and off-campus houses) occur as a result of easy access. Tell your kids to always lock their doors and windows.
  • Store It Away: A cash box is a safe way to store credit cards and passports. If your son or daughter is spending a semester abroad, a cash box will keep these important items secure.
  • Keep a Watchful Eye: Remind your son or daughter never to leave his or her valuables unattended in public buildings on campus, including the library, student union and dining hall, even if they feel it’s a safe place.
  • Prevent Damage: Be sure your child’s important documents, like passports, leases and even class notes, are protected with a fire-resistant and waterproof safe in case of a house fire or flood.

So, when cramming your shopping cart with notebooks, posters and Ramen noodles this back-to-school season, be sure safety is on your list too!

Debbie Hanson is the Director of External Affairs for First Alert, a trusted brand in home safety products.