Living off campus in an apartment, house, duplex or condo can be a new experience for most students. It may be the first time you have had your "own" place. It may also be the first time you have had to think about the safety aspects that come with your home.
- Never leave your door unlocked when leaving, even for a few minutes. Doors should be made of metal or sold wood construction. Good deadbolts and peepholes are also a must. Doors can be further strengthened by installing 2-1/2" or 3" screws in the strike plate.
- Make sure the management changes locks or permits you to change them when moving in.
- For sliding glass doors install a horizontal bar or secure with pins through the frame.
- Windows are the second most favorite point of entry. When leaving, even for a short time, close and lock windows. Windows should be secured with pins through the frame or key lock latches.
- Hallways, stairwells and entries should be well lit at night. Mirrors to help you see around hallway corners are also important.
- Bushes and shrubbery should be well maintained and cut back below window height to reduce the risk of attackers hiding in them.
- Ensure parking areas are well lit at night and afford a clear line of sight to your door.
- Invest in an alarm system with a motion sensor. Small window alarms can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot.
- Never hide a spare key. If you can think of a hiding place, so can a criminal! The key should be kept on a separate ring from your car key. Use a detachable key ring. Never place anything on any key ring that indicates your address.
- List only a first initial and last name on your mailbox.
- Never leave a note or message on your door telling anyone you are gone or when you will be home.
- Do not list your address in the phone book. The phone company can handle this request.
- Close your blinds/curtains - especially at night or whenever you are not home. Don't give someone the opportunity to watch you and learn your routine. If you are at home alone at night, turn on lights in different rooms to give the appearance that more people are at home.
- Do not allow strangers to enter your residence, including door to door "drop in" salespersons, maintenance/utility persons (gas, electric, cable, etc.) security/police personnel. If the stranger is a salesperson and you are interested in a product make an appointment. This allows you time to check with the Better Business Bureau. If the stranger is wearing a uniform, make them show you their identification. Have them hold it up to your peephole, then ask them to wait outside while you call their company for verification.
- Do not leave your name on your answering machine. And, if you are going away on vacation, for the holidays or the weekend, do not leave this info on your machine - you might as well leave the message "Hi, I'm not home and won't be back until Sunday night. That gives you three whole days to break in and steal me blind. Thanks for calling."
- One of the best deterrants of residential crime can be your neighbors. Get to know your neighbors and join Neighborhood Watch!
- Ask your neighbors or a trusted friend to keep an eye on your place, especially if you are going to be gone overnight or on vacation, and do the same for them.
- When away overnight, or when on vacation, turn the volume on the ringer of your telephone down or off so it can't be heard outside your residence. Buy one or two inexpensive timers and program them so your lights and/or radio come on at certain times while you are away.
- If you see someone or something that looks suspicious, call the police at 234-6100 (Emergencies 911).
Engrave valuable items with the identification number or with your drivers license number preceded by your state abbreviations, and keep a record of descriptions and serial numbers.
Public Safety officers have engravers and inventory forms, and can assist with the engraving. These services are free of charge.