Belongings are precious as some have sentimental value, whilst others carry financial value. We do our best to look after what is important to us, especially if it means preventing our valuables from being stolen. However, there is no need to go and frantically put chains around them like in the photo! In this blog, I list some tips on how to keep your belongings secure in any environment you may be working in…By Kayvon Taee
Back up your data
I find there is nothing worse when you’ve poured hours of blood, sweat and tears into an essay, only to find all of that work has been lost! Maybe you’ve misplaced your memory stick or maybe the computer you’re using crashed. Speaking from personal experience, I remember when I was doing my research project I walked all the way from the medical school to my accommodation and was then horrified to realise my memory stick was missing – All of my research was saved on it! However, I have a secret weapon to defeat such despair! My weapon of choice involves using online storage systems such as OneDrive or google drive because even if your memory stick is stolen, you have a second copy all secure on your OneDrive! Both are free to use and offer 5 GB/15GB respectively, although you can pay for OneDrive 365 where you will get 1 TB of storage and you can even make sure Microsoft office saves your work automatically with any changes you make, meaning you won’t have to worry about hitting Ctrl + S (It’s the windows word command for save – you learn something new every day!) every so often! Warwick students are blessed with two online storage systems: OneDrive 365 and Warwick myfiles, where the latter links up to your library computer desktop, meaning you can access your work remotely! (Luckily, I had the data backed up on OneDrive and I retraced my steps back to the lab, where I found it!)
Keep your items with you at all times
You may have been careful about backing up your data, but what about when you want to take a coffee break? Should you leave your laptop and phone behind? I highly advise against this, because you are leaving your precious belongings to be stolen by Crooks the Magpie! However, it is easy to prevent this from happening! I recommend taking all your valuables with you whenever you need the toilet or wish to take a short break away from your study space, but you can leave books and papers, on the desk, or an inexpensive jumper, cardigan or scarf that you wouldn’t be devastated about losing on the back of the seat. A lunch box of healthy snacks is also a good option (Not to mention really good for you!), as all these will indicate the desk is still occupied! This may be annoying to do, especially if you have a heavy laptop but your future self will forever be in your debt as your items will be in your possession and no one else’s. You can also ask the Library helpdesk for a KeepItSafe bag – they’ll happily provide a lightweight foldaway bag for you. They’re pretty handy for the Tesco trip too! You can check out the blog post about what the Library has done to help manage thefts here!
Consider asking a trusted friend for help
This can be really handy if you don’t want to carry the kitchen sink back and forth between the bookshelves! However, I really stress “trusted” friend, because it means you would know that they are responsible enough to look after your stuff for a short while until you come back. I have had people in the past come up and ask to look after their belongings despite never meeting them before. While it’s nice to know that I look like someone you can trust, I really DON’T recommend this at all – you don’t know the person and they could be a thief themselves. Most people are generally nice but it is rather irresponsible to do this! It’s better to keep your belongings with you rather than give them to a stranger and you would really be frustrated when you find out the person has left with your precious items. If you are ever in doubt, always keep your valuables on you, even if you’re just searching for a book. (Press F on your keyboards now to pay respects to those who have had their belongings stolen – F)
Check, double check and triple check!
Be mindful – Whenever you leave or enter a place or room, always check where your belongings are. Where is your phone, your purse or wallet and house keys? What about your bag, laptop, memory stick and your notes? By doing this, you can easily retrace your steps to where you had your items last, in case stolen or lost. You don’t need to check constantly, just once whenever you leave a building and you’ll be fine. Be sure to report any stolen/lost belongings to a member of library staff as they are always happy to help – I managed to locate my lost notebook thanks to their assistance! You should also label low-value items like phone charges in case they end up in the lost property bin.
Phew! This seemed like a lot of information, but hopefully now re-equipped to reduce the risk of thefts on your belongings! Make sure to share this information with others so they will be just as seasoned a pro as you are! Until next time!
Do you have any personal experiences of losing any belongings or maybe you want to include your own tips to prevent theft? We’d love to hear it. Tweet us at @warwicklibrary, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
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Cover image: black-android-smartphone-on-top-of-white-book-39584 / pixabay / CC0 1.0
Image 1: Crooks the magpie, University of Warwick’s Photo