Once you've selected a place to live off-campus, take a few minutes to review the following suggestions that will help you keep your apartment secure. Off-campus safety is based on common sense and personal responsibility. If you are sharing a rental with other people, it is important that everyone has an equal role in making sure that the rental is secured when a roommate leaves for class, heads home for the weekend, spends a night out with friends, or leaves for work.
Inside the Rental
- Leave a light on when you are gone, or purchase a utility timer that can turn lights off and on automatically.
- Test smoke detectors every month.
- Purchase renter's insurance. It is not that expensive and may save you money if there is an accident or a burglary.
- Keep emergency numbers in an accessible location for all of the tenants.
- Know your roommates' security habits. You are only as safe as your roommates allow you to be.
- Always keep doors and windows locked.
- Ask to see company ID when utility or service people come to your door.
- Use a peephole to determine who is knocking before you open the door. If you are still not sure who is there, question the stranger through the door.
- If necessary, get a security system.
- Keep the blinds or drapes closed when you are gone.
- If you lose your keys, work with the landlord to replace your locks immediately.
- Don't put ID tags on your key ring.
Outside the Rental
- Have someone check on your place when you are out of town, and have the post office hold your mail. If you subscribe to newspapers, hold those as well.
- Get to know the area in which your rental is located.
- Do not walk alone after dark. Contact a friend who can take you where you need to go.
- Get to know someone in the immediate vicinity who you can call in case of an emergency.
- Never leave your key outside under a mat or in a place accessible to a stranger.
- Never leave notes on your door or messages on your answering machine that indicate that you are away.