1. LOCK YOUR DOOR!
Locking your dorm room door is the simplest and one of the most effective ways to protect your property when you’re at college. Dozens of people walk through your hallway, past your door, every day. When you aren’t in your room you can’t guarantee someone won’t help themselves to your stuff if your door is unlocked. So lock your door!
2. Set clear boundaries with your roommate.
If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with a roommate with whom you just click. Regardless of that fact, you have to make clear your boundaries. If you don’t want your roommate eating your food, say so. If you’re uncomfortable with them touching your guitar, speak out. If they damage something they thought they could use, then you share some partial responsibility.
3. Don’t leave items unattended.
You’ll be surprised by how quickly a cell phone or a bicycle can be permanently borrowed by a stranger walking by. Don’t leave your property unguarded. A $20 bike lock is cheaper than a $200 bike. If you’re studying in the library and you need a cup of coffee or a bathroom break, make friends with someone sitting near you and ask them to watch your stuff while you’re gone. Return the favor when they need a coffee break.
4. Keep track of your serial numbers.
Starting college for a lot of students means a new influx of technology. You’ve graduated from the family’s old desktop computer to a new snazzy laptop. Your flip phone got traded in for a Smartphone. In the excitement of playing with new toys, don’t forget to write down serial numbers. If your items are ever stolen, and the police recover them, the chance you’ll get them back is much higher because you can prove ownership with those serial numbers.
5. Always double check.
Before you leave a location, make sure you have everything that belongs to you. Sometimes textbooks, phones, or jackets get left behind when you leave a location in haste. Slow down. Run a mental checklist. Make sure everything that’s yours leaves with you. Remember, just because someone finds something that’s not theirs doesn’t mean they’ll turn it in to the appropriate authorities for you to recover.