Congratulations on your acceptance into university! There are plenty of questions you probably have about this next chapter in your life. I’ll give you everything you need to know about keeping your valuables safe.
Your dorm roommates are likely randomly assigned to you, and you most likely don’t know many people in your building. This raises the question, “Is it safe to leave valuables in my dorm?” Be sure to use these tips together to maximize the safety of your belongings. Remember, taking responsibility for yourself and keeping your belongings safe is imperative!
What is a Dorm?
A dorm or dormitory is a building that houses students that are living on campus. It is typically filled with first- and second-year students, but each university has different dorm environments. Some require upper-level students to live in the dorms as well. Some of the dorms also include a cafeteria. Basically, a dorm is a large apartment complex filled with students like you; some might not be as kindhearted and genuine as you are.
Is it Safe to Leave Valuables in a Dorm Room?
Leaving valuables in a dorm room is about as safe as leaving your valuables in your home without locking any doors. Prevention is the key when trying to avoid theft in the dorms. If you can minimize how easy you make it for the thief, you decrease the likelihood of being targeted for stealing significantly.
5 Dorm Room Security Tips
Consider these 5 tips guidelines to be used to maximize your security and lower the chances of having your valuables stolen in the dorms. They go from order of importance; tip 1 is the most imperative and the most effective, while tip 5 is the most drastic. However, they all should be implemented together for the most effective protection.
Tip 1: Do Not Leave Anything Valuable Lying Out in the Open.
This is the most important tip. If you take anything away from this, know that you should NEVER leave anything you don’t want stolen out for everyone to see. Dorm burglaries, though not necessarily common, can happen more often than you think.
If you leave something of value, like a wristwatch, lying on your dining room table before class, what stops someone from pocketing it? Leaving it out in the open for people to see incentivizes them to snatch it without anyone knowing quickly. Alternatively, suppose it’s stashed in a drawer or dorm safe. In that case, someone thinking, “This person probably has a nice watch. Let me go through his things and steal it!” is highly unlikely.
Remember, people are much more likely to steal something if the opportunity is right in their faces and takes little effort. People will be less likely to sift through a random person’s things and risk being caught. If you don’t want it stolen, don’t leave it out!
Tip 2: Lock Your Door!
We cannot stress this enough! Keep your door closed and locked unless you are in your room. This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people I’ve seen casually leave their door unlocked at all times. I’ve seen people leave it wide open for everyone to check out all the expensive stuff they have lying around.
Your room door is your first defense against anyone already inside the dorm building. Nowadays, most dorms require a keycard to get in the building and have security cameras throughout the dorm building. However, that doesn’t protect you from the other students who live there. Honestly, it isn’t difficult for someone to follow a student who buzzes into the building.
You can’t control what your roommates do, but it doesn’t hurt to discuss your concerns with them.
Tip 3: Understand What People Target.
You’ll need to know what people will target to understand what to look out for.
- Electronics are the most common items stolen from college dorms. This should be no surprise, as most of our day-to-day lives revolve around technology. This is especially true at university; many classes require laptops to do homework, take notes, and even take exams. People mainly target laptops but may also steal audio devices, such as headphones and speakers, and even target cell phones.
- Cash and cards are also easily stolen if you are not aware. If you leave your wallet unattended or have a lot of money on your person, someone may try to take it from you if you are not attentive.
- Bicycles or other personal transportation devices, such as longboards, are also commonly stolen, especially if they do not have a lock. They can be resold or used by the thief; if you live on a larger campus and bring a bike, be aware that someone might want a ride, too.
- Textbooks are necessary at university, and you are surrounded by other students who also need textbooks. You may not think that a thick textbook that can stop a gunshot would be high on someone’s list of things to take from you. That’s until you walk into your local university bookstore and realize that each textbook will run you upwards of $150.
- Clothing and jewelry are also hot commodities to snatch; sorry to all the hype beasts out there. This one’s pretty obvious, but it’s similar to cash and cards. It’s free cash if someone can take it and resell it or they just like your style.
Tip 4: Limit the Number of Valuables You Bring to School.
Now that you know what the most commonly stolen items in a dormitory are, only bring what you need! You should always leave the most valuable stuff at home and bring the things you can afford to lose.
Obviously, you need your phone and a laptop, but maybe leave the $1000 custom-built desktop at home.
If your campus is small enough that you can walk across campus comfortably, don’t bring an electric bike; exercise is good anyways!
Avoid keeping large wads of cash on you, and don’t flaunt it. The same goes for expensive jewelry and clothes; you’ll find out soon that most college students are broke, and these things can attract some sticky fingers. Leave the solid gold earrings at home and bring the $10 ones.
You can’t avoid getting textbooks, but perhaps consider purchasing an online textbook instead of a paper one.
Tip 5: Lock It Up.
If you’ve made it this far, you probably think the previous methods aren’t enough. You want to be sure that leaving valuables in your dorm is secure, and we don’t blame you! In that case, investing in a safe or lockable trunk might be a good idea.
How to Secure Valuables in a Dorm Room?
In order to truly secure your valuables in your dorm, you need to lock up your belongings. Sometimes simply hiding them away or locking your door isn’t enough; if someone somehow gets into your room, you’ll want some sort of lock to ensure security.
Personally, we think a safe is a bit expensive and heavy and may send the message that you’ve got valuables in there. But, if you’re set on getting one, remember that your university will likely not allow you to bolt down the safe. You also want to avoid anything too heavy to make it easy to move. Now, what’s to stop someone from taking the entire safe if it’s small enough? That’s why a safe with a cable is the best safe for dorm rooms. The cable will allow you to tether the safe to something heavy, such as a bed frame or desk.
What is the Best Safe for Dorm Rooms?
Our top pick for the best safe for dorms is the V5.0 Safe by Stealth because it is explicitly designed for dorm use. There are other more affordable options, but this safe has everything you need for your time in the dorms.
If you are looking for a more inexpensive option, we recommend a lockable trunk with a cable or a lockable shelf. A lockable trunk will be lighter and larger, giving you more space to store your belongings. we believe this is the most practical option and recommend the Vaultz Storage Lock Box. This is due to its included cable and keyless combination lock, which is one less thing to worry about.
A lockable shelf is also a practical and discrete option, as it does not advertise that you are trying to protect something. It is also unlikely someone will take an entire shelf. Everyone’s dorm room and decorations will be different, so find one that works for you.
A bonus tip is if you’re bringing a bike, get a bike lock! You can find one on Amazon for less than $10; trust us, it’s well worth it.
Wrapping Things Up: 5 Ways to Keep Your Valuables Safe in a Dorm Room
Living in the dorms is an exciting time. Still, it would be best if you lived responsibly to avoid spending more money than you already have. Most of you have already spent enough on tuition, books, and housing. If you apply these five ways to keep your valuables safe in your dorm room, you shouldn’t have a problem with thieves targeting your things.
Most importantly, do not keep anything valuable out in the open. Be sure to lock your door, if possible, when you aren’t there. Be sure to understand what is commonly stolen and pay extra attention to it. Don’t bring all your most expensive items with you, and lock your valuables up in a safe dorm for extra security.