Living in a residence hall can have some downsides. You have to share a bathroom with a lot of people, illnesses spread like wildfire and you are a major target for thefts.

With incidents of theft in the dorms becoming more and more common this semester, it is important to take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming the next victim. If you remain vigilant, you’ll be able to make it to May with all of your belongings still by your side.

Always lock your door. It does not matter if you are just walking to the bathroom, to the front desk or just to a room across the hall. It only takes a minute or maybe even less for someone to find and take what they want, so don’t leave your room unlocked in the first place. If you remember to lock your door when you leave your room, then all of your things will still be there when you return.

If you cannot ever remember to lock your door, then you may be better off just hiding your valuables in your room. Instead of leaving your laptop on your desk, put it in an obscure place that no one will ever think to look. Just make sure that you remember where these places are, or you’ll end up losing your things unintentionally.

Write your name on everything valuable. Cell phones, laptops, mp3 players and video game systems are all getting stolen; but if your name is written (or even better, carved) on these devices, it will be less likely to be stolen. Even if it is stolen, then whomever stole it will have your name branded on their “new toy” and you can use this to prove who it truly belongs to.

If you are living in the Village, you can be at risk as well. Make sure that your front and back doors close all the way, because in some cases the doors can be easily pushed open. You should also make sure that your individual room door is closed. If someone gets into your house, you can prevent him or her from entering your individual room if you keep your door closed. You would be better off with them taking a box of mac and cheese than your laptop.

Regardless of where you are living, be vigilant and remain aware of your surroundings. Get to know the people who live in your hallway, the people who live on your block in the Village or your street off-campus. If you know who is supposed to be walking around at 3 a.m. (if you happen to be around at 3 a.m.), then you’ll be able to stop crimes before they even happen.

If you have something stolen because you haven’t taken the proper precautions, then don’t hesitate to tell someone. Tell your RA or U.P. if you live on-campus, call the police if you live off-campus or consult your list of enemies if you feel confident in catching the criminal on your own.

Your expensive belongings are at stake here. If you do what you can to prevent this rash of crimes from affecting you, then your prized possessions will stay as your own possessions.

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