The Crime Prevention Website


Halls of residence

Most modern halls of residence have a reasonable level of security and the very newest or recently refurbished have often been built to a police security specification called ‘Secured by Design (SBD) New Homes’.   The estates or facilities manager will know if this is the case.

At the very least I would expect your building to have all if not most of the following security attributes.

It is almost certain that your hall will have two or possibly three levels of physical security to keep non-residents out.  The first level will be an accessed controlled street entrance door and you’ll be issued with a plastic card (possibly your students ID badge) or a fob (like a remote car key) to access the door.   There is likely to be a 24 hour manned security office at the main entrance, although not necessarily at every entrance to a very large development, which would instead be covered by CCTV back to the main office. 

There may be a second level of access control separating the private residential areas from the common rooms, games rooms and kitchen facilities and so on. 

The third level of security will be the door to your room.  If you’re in a building approved by the police SBD scheme then the room door will be one of enhanced security.  To find out more about enhanced secure doorsets or about door security for flats go to the Door security section in Home Security .  Whatever door you might have you will almost certainly have a deadlock on the bedroom door, which will have a thumbturn on the inside of it instead of a keyhole.  This is so you don’t accidentally lock yourself in and then can’t get out in an emergency.

Each bedroom door should have a door viewer and door chain or door bar of some description and the common corridors and landings should be illuminated either fully or partially throughout the night.  In the most modern buildings you may have what’s called an ‘intelligent lighting system’, which uses detectors to turn the lights on and off when activated by people moving around the building.

If your room is on the ground floor or it’s next to a flat roof the windows will be either be fitted with key operated locks or will be ones of enhanced security with a multi-point locking system.  Upper floor windows will either have limited opening (a safety feature) or won’t open at all.

Hopefully the residents’ car park will be in view of the accommodation, but this is by no means certain, and the roads and footpaths will be lit to British Standard recommended levels.

To find out more about security issues in what is essentially a block of flats take a look at Entrance and exit doors in blocks of flats and the other sections in Door security .

Flat or house rental

Many students either choose to live in rented accommodation away from the university from the start or have to in their second year.   You should choose accommodation that has a level of security which will satisfy an insurance company’s minimum standards and if it doesn’t then either find another place where it does or ask if the landlord would be willing to improve it.  Your university may run a list of suitable accommodation.  I have provided a ‘typical’ insurance security specification in Typical insurance requirements  in Door security .  Unfortunately, as is the nature of business, some companies will have slightly different specs, so if you or your folks are going to pay for contents insurance or a special student's insurance make sure you know exactly what will be required. 

Security for the home is a vast subject and you should refer to the other sections on this website for further detailed help.

The basics:

  • Lock all the doors and windows whenever you go out, even if it is for a short time. 
  • If you’re in halls be careful who you are letting in through the access controlled entrance doors and be careful not to be followed in by strangers (tailgating).  Report the matter to the campus security if you think you have been.  Also keep your room door locked at all times especially when you are asleep or taking a shower
  • When you go out at night, or you are likely to come back after dark, do things to make your place look occupied.  Leave lights on or buy some plug in timers to bring on a couple table lamps.  See Lighting
  • Take a look at the Holiday Checklist to see what more you can do to make your place looked occupied when you are away from Uni.
  • You may be able to install a wireless alarm system ; preferably professionally installed, but DIY ones are available. You’ll need the landlord’s permission first though.
  • Mark your property so that it is identifiable to you. See Property identification – marking, tagging and tracking
  • Keep the receipts for valuable items in case you need to claim on insurance.
  • Don’t leave valuable items, such as a laptop, on view through a window and don’t put out the packaging for electrical items with the rest of the rubbish without first breaking up and reversing the boxes.
  • Unless you have access to a ‘proper’ safe (See Safes ) keep your holding of cash in the accommodation to a minimum
  • Be very aware of inviting people you don’t know too well back to your place even when in the company of friends.  Get to know them really well first.