14 Keys to prevent robberies in student residences

The university stage is one of the most important experiences in anyone’s life: discovering a new city, making new friends, acquiring new knowledge, and so on. However, this significant change that students from small towns face when moving to large university cities can be a major emotional shock, especially if the new living environment is not favorable after leaving the family home. And this brings us to the particular case of student residences.

These types of residences are a good housing option as they provide students with everything they need to handle the academic year (accommodation and meals) at a relatively good price. However, the only potential drawback that can occur can ruin an entire school year. This problem is none other than “poor relationships with other students.”

Sometimes, these poor relationships with other students can lead to thefts among roommates, which not only means financial losses for the victims but also significantly impairs their academic performance due to the problems that arise.

Below, we present the 14 most important tips to avoid theft in student residences:


1. Choose good roommates

If your residence room is shared and not individual (as is the case in most situations), the most effective way to prevent theft and the loss of your belongings is to have a friend or acquaintance as your roommate.

Through a bond of friendship, you not only ensure a cordial relationship with your roommate but also guarantee complete security, knowing that your belongings won’t be taken. A true friend will never steal from you or allow others to do so.

If you cannot have a friend from high school as your roommate for your new university stage, it is always preferable to try to find someone from your hometown. This will create a perfect bond between the two of you and foster a relationship of mutual trust. After all, it is logical that no one from your hometown would want any negative rumors circulating about them in their city or town.


2. Keep an inventory of your belongings

Despite having a trustworthy roommate, it is important to have an inventory or list of your most important belongings. This is because unfamiliar friends or third parties may enter your room if someone forgets to close the door or leaves it open for a moment while going to the bathroom.

With this list, if you notice something missing, you can check whether something has actually been stolen from you or not.

You don’t need to constantly check, just do it periodically or if you have the feeling that something has been taken from your room.


3. Address problems directly from the start

It is important to establish clear and basic rules with your roommate(s):

  • If someone wants to borrow something, they must communicate it.
  • If someone brings friends into the room, they must be responsible and ensure that nothing is touched by the other roommates.
  • When leaving the room, the door must be closed, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

If you find that something is missing, don’t wait for a second time and don’t beat around the bush. Clearly talk to your roommates and explain what happened. It is very likely that suddenly someone will remember and promise to return something they had borrowed and forgotten to ask for. In any case, even if the culprit doesn’t appear and everyone says it was probably another student in the residence, if it is true, everyone will pay more attention to closing the room’s door when they leave. And if it is false, the responsible person will know they’ve been called out and won’t steal from you again. Do it this way, or else you’ll be taken advantage of throughout the entire academic year.


4. Check the door lock and window closures

Make sure that both the windows and the entrance door to your room close properly and cannot be tampered with. If not, notify the responsible staff of the facility so they can solve the problem and provide you with a secure room.

Also, ensure that both you and your roommates close the entrance door when leaving, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Keep in mind that someone who wants to steal can take advantage of the slightest carelessness of any occupant.


5. Install a security camera in your room

If, despite having a lock on the main door, you are not entirely confident in its security (in fact, any lock can be manipulated and opened no matter how good it is), and you want to have complete peace of mind, you can always choose to install a security camera in your room. In the event of a theft, you will be able to easily identify the responsible person, who will not only have to return your belongings but will also likely be expelled from the residence. Nowadays, these cameras are practically inexpensive and offer perfect image quality. For example, you can find a good example of an ideal camera for these situations at an affordable price by following this link. Make sure to have the authorization of your roommates and ensure that you comply with the residence’s rules.

Please note that this translation is provided for informational purposes only, and it’s always recommended to have a professional translator review and adapt the text to ensure accuracy and suitability for your specific website.


6. Choose a residence with good references

Avoid old stereotypes that say expensive residences have decent people and cheap residences have students from troubled families who are more likely to steal. In every place, there are all kinds of people, just like in life. The most important thing is the strict enforcement of common rules in the student residence.

You can obtain this information through the residence’s website, where their internal regulations and policies regarding resident infractions will be available.

It’s also important to gather opinions from other students or former residents of the residence. If you don’t have contacts, you can always look for comments and reviews online.


7. Be careful with money and cards

Never leave cash in plain sight. Always make sure to keep it securely hidden in a less accessible place or directly in your wallet. If you prefer not to carry your wallet with you when you go out, ensure it is properly stored.

Whenever possible, use your card for payments and minimize the use of cash since cards are generally safer. Additionally, consider having a card linked to an account with only the necessary funds so that if fraudulent transactions occur, the loss would be limited to the account balance.

Another option to limit unauthorized charges is to use a prepaid card that can be recharged via bank transfer.

It is also advisable to modify the minimum amount required for a PIN code when making purchases. By default, some cards allow transactions below a certain amount (e.g., 20 euros) without a signature or PIN code. You can change this limit at any ATM so that the PIN is always required. This way, even if you lose your card or it gets stolen, the thief won’t be able to make purchases with it.

Lastly, never leave your card unattended in your room. Someone could simply take a photo of it with a phone and use the card details for fraudulent online transactions.


8. Don’t leave your mobile phone or laptop unattended

As a student, your most valuable possessions are likely your mobile phone and laptop. These items are highly targeted by thieves due to their easy resale value.

For this reason, never leave your mobile phone or laptop unattended in your room, even for a few minutes. If you have to leave your room briefly, remember to lock the door.

Also, always keep an eye on these devices when using them in common areas of the residence.


9. Install a GPS tracking app on your mobile phone and laptop

Installing GPS tracking apps on your mobile phone and laptop is a good way to enhance their security. In case of loss or theft, you can track their location using another device and potentially recover them.


10. Leave the lights on if nobody is present at night

Normally, there will always be someone in your room at night. However, if there is nobody present, leaving a light on can simulate your presence and deter potential thieves.

This measure may not be necessary all the time, but on special nights when many people go out and there might be non-resident guests and a certain level of chaos in the residence, leaving a light on can create the impression that someone is inside and discourage theft attempts.


11. Install a door alarm

If thefts have already occurred in your residence and you have significant concerns about its security, consider taking more serious measures such as installing a door alarm in your room.

These alarms emit a sound alert if the door is tampered with without being deactivated beforehand. They are easy to install and affix to the door without any construction work required. The price is usually affordable, and you can find suitable door alarm models for these situations on this link.

With an alarm installed, if someone unauthorized tries to enter your room, the sound alarm will activate, alerting all residents to the situation, and the intruder will likely flee immediately.


12. Avoid bringing high-value belongings

If possible, avoid bringing high-value belongings to your student residence. Keep in mind that students, for obvious reasons, don’t usually have a lot of money (most rely on transfers from their parents), so their level of consumption is low.

By bringing something of considerable value to your residence, you might attract attention and tempt potential thieves.


13. Avoid drawing attention

If you have valuable items in your room for any reason (e.g., you received two tickets for the local football derby, you have expensive academic materials, you’re an avid photographer with an expensive camera), be discreet and cautious when sharing that information with others.

Remember that in a residence, information tends to spread, so be selective and careful about whom you share personal information regarding the value of your belongings. For example, if you study music and have a valuable musical instrument in your room, avoid publicly discussing its price.


14. Take your most valuable belongings when traveling sporadically

Whenever you plan to leave the residence for a few days, it’s preferable to take your most valuable personal belongings with you, such as your laptop, certain academic materials and instruments, expensive clothing, etc.

By doing this, if someone manages to enter your room while you’re away, they won’t be able to take your highest-value possessions since you’ve already taken them with you.


Final advice: Personal responsibility and good company are crucial

As we’ve seen, the most important thing to prevent theft in your student residence is to have trustworthy roommates and apply common-sense measures of personal responsibility. By doing so, you’ll have maximum security in your room and be able to enjoy your academic year without worries.

If you found this article helpful in avoiding theft in student residences, you may also be interested in learning how to prevent theft in classrooms at your university. Don’t miss our next article on “How to prevent thefts in the classroom at high school or college?”.