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Lancaster has a reputation for being the safest student city in the UK. It seems to provide the perfect campus environment setting for the first year and, having moved out in the second, a reasonable place to live while renting a student house. Since coming here for the most part in my experience it has lived up to its expectations. Having heard horror stories from friends studying in Manchester and Nottingham about experiences within their groups of friends of burglary and violence I feel it is worth the compromise on night life and variety in such a small city for the assurance that my possessions are most likely to be where I left them. I have a cousin studying in London who has been mugged three times during her first year just travelling from university to her halls. So students at Lancaster really are quite lucky comparatively where security is concerned.
Despite this, however, there have been incidents recently of burglary in student residences. And it surprises me that they have not been more frequent. Whilst the modern en-suite accommodation on campus is more difficult to break into, with swipe keys to enter each building and locked flats and rooms, standard rooms, at least in my college, seem to be very poorly secured. In my friends flat you were simply able to stroll into their building and then into their kitchen and with the number of gadgets around it’s amazing things are not taken all that often.
Student housing in town is not much better. It has always seemed bizarre to me that the biggest student housing company in Lancaster blatantly advertises who its residences are by marking them out with bright yellow front doors. Knowing that students generally all leave during the Christmas and Easter breaks, it is astonishing to me that the rate of burglary is not higher- it’s like leaving a big sign on your front door saying this house is empty and probably full of valuable items. Even living in a privately rented house has some problems, with considerably dodgy door locks and a landlord who was less than obliging about sorting the problem when we raised it until the council became involved.
So while on the whole students in Lancaster are secure, there are some issues that could be addressed. Hopefully refurbishments on campus should improve security. But on the whole, whilst we cannot stop people from breaking locks and entering, it is up to us to not make an easier job of it for burglars