Though I graduated from college a couple years ago, my college roommates and I are still crazy close. (After all, we did survive the school cafeteria together.) During our days of dorm living, we shared everything—from clothes and class notes to the latest juicy gossip. But with so many people in such a tiny living space, it was tough to keep track of my stuff.
I never felt this more than during my junior year, when I was the victim of campus theft. While I was interviewing for a summer internship in another state, my roommates had a bunch of people over to our place. After I got back from my trip, it took me a while to realize things were missing: At first, I couldn’t find the digital camera I’d left sitting on my desk; later, it was the shoulder bag filled with my class projects, iPod and—worst of all—master keys to two university buildings. I had my friends ask around, but no one would fess up to the crime.
While being surrounded by people in classrooms, cafeterias, common rooms and dorm halls is great for your social life, it can make for a risky situation when it comes to your stuff. In fact, according to the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool, burglary was the crime most often reported on the campuses of four-year private and public schools in 2012. After my things were taken, I started to get serious about security.
If you live in a dorm like I did, your stuff is probably protected under your parents’ homeowners insurance, but you might want to have them check their coverage if you’re in off-campus housing. (If their insurance doesn’t cover you, or only takes care of a small percentage, think about checking out renters insurance.) Ask university officials if there are theft prevention programs in place to protect you, and in the meantime, consider taking the following steps to safeguard your stuff:
If you think you were the victim of theft, don’t hesitate to turn to a resident assistant, campus security or the local police.(Updated July 2014)