Getting tricked is no treat, so in light of the recent burglaries in and around Western's campus, the AS Review is providing you a guide to thief proofing your residence. Goblins, vampires and zombies are scary but it is more likely you will be a victim of theft then a vampire bite. Since the 2005 school year total burglaries on Western's Campus have doubled. The prevalence of off campus theft has also risen in the past year.
Fortunately, with just a few simple steps you can greatly reduce your chance of getting robbed. The first and easiest precaution you can take is to lock your doors, even if you are only leaving for a short time. Along with locking your doors make sure any window or sliding glass door is wedged closed with a dowel. To avoid a thief climbing through a window limit any outside furniture or at least keep it away from windows. Thieves are less likely to target a house with a fully lighted perimeter. Have all your important documents, serial numbers to technology and receipts in a safe place. If you put them into a safe make sure to bolt the safe to something so it cannot be stolen.
The campus safety office also has tips to reduce your chance of theft on campus. Do not leave backpacks or purses unattended in public areas such as the library, the gym, or in hallways. Do not label your keys in any way that identifies what doors they fit. Do not put your license number on your car keys. Do not leave your room unlocked while you are sleeping.
Take inventory and record serial numbers of all equipment. Keep the inventory in a safe place, separate from the equipment.
Register your bike with University Police.
If you are living on your own it's a good idea to look into purchasing renters' insurance. The cost of renters insurance range anywhere from $60 to $120 a year depending on how much personal property you want to ensure. In college money is tight but insurance is a lot cheaper than replacing all of your stuff. Before purchasing renters insurance, check and see if you are covered by your parent's homeowners insurance.
Get to know your neighbors. They can be invaluable for detecting something or someone unusual. If you are leaving for an extended period of time ask your neighbors to keep a close eye on the place. Make sure this is a neighbor your trust. Also return the favor paying attention to anything happening over at your neighbors.
Contact your landlord. Many landlords are willing to chip in or pay completely for security measures that will help protect their building, especially flood lights and motion sensor lights.
Sometimes you're at the greatest risk for theft when you are home. When people have parties at their homes it is easy to lose track of who is coming in and out of your house. If you expect people you don't know to be coming through your house, make sure to lock up all your valuables and keep your bedroom doors locked as well.
So let's say you do get robbed; what should you do? If you live on campus call campus police, if off campus call the police. Cancel all your credit cards and change the password on your accounts, even computer accounts.
It's impossible to predict if or when you will get robbed but with these preventative steps you can stop a thief before they make off with your laptop, I-pod, or elaborate collection of Disney princess Pez dispensers.