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College Advice

How To Protect Your Valuables in Your Dorm

DormEssentials November 25, 2020
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While moving into a dorm in college is one of the best experiences, it increases the probability of losing your valuables especially expensive electronics such as smartphones, laptops, camera equipment, speakers, gaming systems, and more. The most common crimes on campuses are personal property theft and burglary which necessitates the use of the most high-quality and secure dorm room safes and practices. In this article, we will guide you on the best ways to protect your valuables in your dorm room.

What Are The Most Common Stolen Items in Dorm Rooms?

Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Cash

You may be prone to leaving out your cash or credit cards, and debit cards on your desk or the bed. But dorm rooms are accessible to people who may not be your friends or loved ones. Anyone who has the intention of stealing can easily get a hold of these items especially if they are unattended. Therefore, you should always keep them in your wallet, and of course, keep the wallet in a secure place.

Electronics

Laptops and smartphones fall under one of the top categories of stolen items in dorm rooms because they are quite easy to steal. With the size of electronics reducing by the day, it’s very easy for thieves to snatch them and use them as their own. According to studies by campus police, it merely takes seven seconds for someone to steal a laptop therefore you should by no means leave it unattended especially if you have someone whom you do not know well enough in your dorm room.

Textbooks/Assignments

While textbooks and assignments may not be as expensive as electronics, they sure do hold a lot of value. Textbooks may cost more than $100 each and assignments are expensive in terms of the time and effort utilized to complete them. So, you should try and keep them in a secure place if you have strangers over in your dorm room.

Jewelry/Clothing/Accessories

Jewelry, clothing, and accessories are also prone to be stolen especially if the thief is aware of how expensive they are. Therefore, if you have any branded items or products that hold great sentiment, you should keep them in a locked closet and not laying around the room.

Consumables

While it may not be as big of a deal, it is routine for roommates and floormates to take snacks, food, drinks, smokes, and other items without your permission. Locking the door is essential to preventing this from occurring.

What Are The Best Ways To Protect Your Valuables?

1. Keep Your Dorm Room’s Door Locked At All Times

When you’re staying in a dorm, it’s quite easy to walk out the door to have a chat with a friend or grab a snack from the vending machine down the hallway without locking your dorm room door. This increases the risk of theft of your valuables as they are exposed to potential thieves who could unfortunately even be friends or peers. This is why it is necessary to lock your room’s door even if you step out for a minute.

Now, if you’re sharing your room with another person, it’s important to establish the rule of locking the door. There’s no point in you being extra careful while your roommate leaves the door unlocked frequently. Therefore, make sure you have a talk with your roommates about securing your dorm room. If you do get locked out, it also isn’t the end of the world.

2. Register Your Personal Belongings with the Campus  

You can register your personal belongings with the campus police especially the items that the majority of the students own such as a Macbook Pro or an iPhone. Getting valuables engraved with your student ID number will help the campus police immensely if these items get stolen. Without any identification as such, it’s most likely impossible to look for a stolen property as it could belong to anyone. If you ride a bike on campus, many schools offer the ability to get a dedicated lock space and register as well.

3. Keep Your Valuables in a Personal Safe

Even if you trust your roommates you cannot control who they bring into your dorm room so you must consider keeping your valuables in a personal safe. Valuables such as electronics, credit cards, cash, jewelry, etc. should be kept in a safe. Also, make sure you put a complicated password on your safe so that no one can guess it; avoid repeating numbers, consecutive numbers, or birth dates as your password. 

4. Keep an Inventory of All Your Valuables

Everybody has valuable possessions that we realize the importance of only when we lose them. A smart way to keep track of all your valuables is by making an inventory with descriptions of each item. This way, if you were to lose an item, the campus police will be able to recover it easily.

5. Install Security Cameras in Your Dorm Room

Installing security cameras in your dorm room will allow you to monitor it even when you’re not around. There are really good wireless activated security cameras in the market that captures high-quality video and audio. You can easily stream live content on your smartphone and keep an eye out for any strangers. Ideally these are pointed simply to the doors to see who enters.

Plus, another advantage of security cameras is that any potential thief might refrain from breaking in and stealing your valuables if they see that there’s a security camera right above your dorm room door. Before doing this, make sure your roommate is okay with the idea! A lot of activities occur in the dorm so sometimes its important to remember that there is a camera monitoring.

6. Use Combination Locks to Protect Your Valuables

Although it might seem too much to lock all your valuable possessions like laptops, textbooks, and sensitive files, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So you should use combination padlocks to secure expensive electronics and other valuable items such as assignments, books, jewelry, etc. This combination lock from GoKeyLess is a great option to keep your dorm room secure as it has anti-shim technology.   

7. Do Not Leave Valuables in Plain Sight

Thieves are always looking for chances when valuables are left unattended. So even if you think you’re surrounded by trustworthy people do not leave your possessions in plain sight. You may be prone to leave your smartphone, laptop, or wallet on the desk when you walk out of the room for a minute but this just allows potential thieves to steal your belongings. So make sure you lock them in a personal safe or a secure closet before you step out.  

8. Use a Security Bar For Extra Security 

A security bar could be an extra layer of protection from intruders, especially at night when you’re asleep. Sometimes, keyed door locks may not be secure enough as there are higher chances of the keys being copied. On the other hand, a security bar can be used which is durable construction that increases the security in your dorm room.

9. Choose Your Room on a Higher Floor If Possible

If your room is located on the ground floor or the first floor, there are higher chances of forced entry through the windows. The higher up your room is located in the dorm building, the lower the chances are of thieves entering your room. Usually, burglars prefer to climb only up to the first floor to get a hold of whatever possession they can since climbing up on the higher floors require more time and patience. 

10. Do Not Share Everything on Social Media

Sharing your dorm room number or even the floor your room is located is highly dangerous as it exposes your personal space for anyone to invade. For example, if you’re having a discussion on the comment section of a Facebook post regarding a hangout plan in your dorm room, you shouldn’t mention the room number publicly; just send them a direct message instead.

11. Utilize Buddy System

Buddy system is quite beneficial when you move into your college dorm. Although the room is allotted to you and your roommate, you cannot always control who comes in and out of your dorm room as you’ll not be acquainted with everyone. If you have someone over, let your roommate or a trusted friend know that someone is coming over along with a little description and at what time they will be coming. Also, make sure you establish a rule with your roommate to do the same.

12. Do Not Keep Any Valuables in The Dorm Room If You’re away for the Weekend

If you’re going home for the weekend, take your valuable possessions such as a laptop or tablet with you. Of course, you cannot carry every valuable item especially if they are huge, but try not to keep most of them in the dorm room while you’re away. Plus, lock the room door and windows so that you don’t have to worry too much about your valuables being stolen.

13. Keep Your Windows Locked Whenever You’re Out

This is applicable for the dorm rooms that are on the ground floor or the first floor. Keeping your windows open will expose your room to thieves or burglars as they’re easy to reach. Also, if the windows are grilled, make sure that you do not keep your valuables on any of the furniture that is close to the windows.

14. Get a Dorm Room Friendly Alarm System

An alarm system can act as an extra layer of protection in your dorm room. You should choose one depending on the level of security you’d like to establish in your dorm room. You can either choose a monitored system like the one from Simplisafe, or a simpler alarm system like the security alarm kit from Sabre. However, please keep in mind that you’d probably need to take permission from your campus security before you install any alarm system in your dorm room.

15. Be Picky About Who You Let Into Your Dorm Room

Given that dorm rooms can be open to friends, teammates, or random people you’re working on projects with, there are higher chances of your valuables being stolen because you don’t really know what people’s intentions are. This is why it’s important to be picky about who you bring into your dorm room. Even if you let acquaintances in, you have to be extra cautious. One element to consider here is to remember to resolve any dorm conflicts and treat people nicely. Unhappy floormates or roommates will be more keen to want to steal your things.

16. Use Cable Lock for Your Laptop

Cable locks or cable anchors are easily available in electronic stores. They can be used to tether your laptop to the leg of a heavy desk. Although it can be cut, someone who’s looking for a quick opportunity to steal something would refrain from cutting the cable lock to take the laptop.

You can also purchase a lockbox for your dorm room where you can store your valuables. These boxes are usually small enough to fit under the desk or inside a closet. As long as they aren’t too light to carry, you can use them to protect your valuables.

17. Do Not Lend Your Keys to Anyone and Everyone 

Sometimes you may want to lend your dorm room key to your friend or significant other so that they can spend time there while you’re in class. However, you must only do so if you completely trust them. Also, it’s quite easy to make a copy of your key and use them later to steal your valuables so you should be very picky about whom you lend your keys to. 

18. Keep Up With the Local News and Always Stay Alert 

Moving into a college dorm means you’re most likely shifting to a new city or town. Therefore, you may not be aware of the crime that usually goes around the place. Keeping up with the local news will automatically help you stay alert if something is alarming in the crime section of the newspaper.

19. Get Insurance

Getting insurance is crucial if you were to lose any valuables. You can check out College Student Insurance which will cover your lost possessions thanks to dorm room policies. Without insurance, you’ll have to purchase the products yourself which would of course be expensive since burglars are prone to stealing costly items. 

20. Protection against Identity Theft 

With identification opportunities easily available in your dorm room, someone with an evil intention may quite easily steal it. Even if you may have to pay a huge cost, stolen electronics are replaceable. But losing your identity will ruin your life and your credit. 

To prevent that from happening, you must always lock up your important documents preferably in a safe, and use unique and strong passwords on all your devices. Also, no matter how much you trust another person it’s advisable to not share your personal computer. Lastly, do not leave personally-identifying items in your dorm room or public areas like classrooms or libraries.

21. Using Personal Safety Devices

This is applicable for situations when you may have to face the burglar and you’re alone in your dorm room. Although the sole intention of thieves is to steal your valuables, you might panic and make the situation worse. If you suffer from paranoia, it is suggested to use personal safety devices such as smart jewelry or a self-defense key chain. Not only will it provide you peace of mind, but it will let you call for help with only a touch of a button. Plus, these items are usually very small so you can easily place them in your pocket. 

 

Why is Dorm Room Security So Important?

As the incoming students are most likely shifting to a new state or city, safety is going to be one of their biggest concerns. While it’s the responsibility of campus security to prevent any sort of crime, students can also take matters into their own hands and take extra protection to secure their living space. 

Using sturdy dorm room door locks and safes for storing valuables will not only provide peace of mind to these students but calm their parents’ minds as well. Since every university isn’t perfect, you may not know what you’re walking into before you shift to your dorm room. Therefore, it’s better to take measures to secure your living space right from the first day.

Conclusion

Since security is crucial when it comes to your valuables and your living space, you should take all the necessary measures to protect them. We are positive that this guide will help to keep you and your belongings safe as long as you follow the tips mentioned here, and install any of the highly secure door locks featured in this article. Hope you find what you are looking for!

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