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Keeping your belongings safe

Group of students carrying bags and walking along Portobello Market in London

The UK is generally a safe place and crime rates across the country are relatively low. However, it is important to avoid risks and to be careful with your cash and possessions – both at home and while you’re out and about.

We strongly recommend that you read the British Council's Creating confidence guide (PDF, 1.6MB), which is designed for international students living in the UK. For visitors to the UK, the Safety First guide (PDF, 1.6MB) also has lots of advice.

These are a few important tips to help protect your possessions at home:

  • Lock your doors and windows when going out, and discuss security with everyone you live with. Make sure you all agree to leave your home secure at all times.
  • Don’t leave valuable items where they can be seen through a window. If you are on a lower floor, keep your windows, curtains or blinds closed at night.
  • Insure your valuable items against loss, theft or accidental damage.
  • If you go away on holiday, try to leave your valuables in storage (many boarding schools, colleges and universities have a secure storage room) or with a trusted friend.

And while you’re out – particularly in the evening and at night – make sure you stay alert to your surroundings, and always stay aware of where your belongings are. Remember:

  • Keep your wallet, phone and other valuable items out of sight in busy, public places.
  • If you are carrying a laptop, try to put it in a backpack or other bag that is not obviously a laptop bag. Always back up your work and keep it separate from your laptop.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, and stick to well-lit, busy streets where you feel safe.
  • Avoid listening to headphones, talking on your phone or using your mobile map while walking, particularly at night. This makes you less aware of your surroundings, and lets other people know that you have valuables.

See the Creating confidence guide for more advice.

If you have a bicycle, make sure you keep it locked up when you’re not using it – use a good-quality ‘D’ lock to connect its frame and wheel to a fixed object. Also, register it with Immobilise.com so the police can return it if it is stolen and recovered.

These short films from Greater Manchester Police give more useful safety advice for students.

Find out more about bike security in this film:

Find out more about property marking to label and register your valuable items:

Finally, take care when withdrawing cash from cash machines (ATMs). Greater Manchester Police have this advice:

Read more: