Off-Campus Student Services
The safety of your apartment and neighborhood is critical when deciding where to live. We have highlighted some of the most important issues concerning:
Apartment Safety Checklist
1. Door Security
- Are all doors leading outside secure? Can you see the area outside the door?
- Is the door sturdy and locks in working condition? (A secure door should include a deadbolt only accessible from inside the apartment.)
- Does the door have a peephole so you can identify people outside?
- If there is a sliding glass door, is there a strong stick (such as a broom handle) in the track on the inside to keep the door shut if the lock is disengaged?
2. Key Access
- Who has keys and what measures are taken to ensure that only tenants can enter the building? (Insist that the locks on the doors be changed when you move in.)
3. Walkway and Stair Lighting
- Are all walkways and stairwells properly lit? This will prevent falls and injuries when you come and go and help keep your home safe inside and out.
4. Building Access
- Is the building easily accessible from the street?
- Do security personnel patrol the parking lots or grounds?
- Are there surveillance cameras or other deterrents in place?
5. Get to Know Your Neighbors
- Who are your neighbors? When are they home during the day or evening?
Neighborhood Safety Checklist
Take a tour of the area, during the day and at night, and keep in mind the following questions:
- How well kept are the lawns?
- Are there signs of graffiti and vandalism? A well-maintained area typically means the residents care about their neighborhood and what happens in it.
- What is the traffic level? Is the street a thoroughfare or does it have little traffic? (The less accessible a neighborhood is to non-residents, the less crime it invites.)
- Are there people walking in the neighborhood during the day and at night? Seeing residents walking through the neighborhood is typically a good indication of their comfort with the surroundings.
3. Building Conditions
- Do the houses have burglar bars? Many homes with barred windows may indicate a problem with criminal activity.
- Are there any vacant houses? Absentee landlords who do not regularly maintain their property may encourage loitering and vagrancy, or provide an opportunity for undetected criminal activity.
4. Neighborhood Status
- Are there many houses for sale or rent? A neighborhood in transition may invite criminal activity.
Additional Safety Tips
- Write only your last name or initials on your mailbox.
- You may choose to have an unlisted phone number for safety reasons.
- On the elevator, avoid riding alone with a stranger. If you get stuck with someone you do not know, stand near the control panel so you can exit in an emergency.
- Stay alert when entering your apartment. Don’t talk on your cell phone or look preoccupied when walking toward your building.
- Report bad lighting or overgrown shrubbery to your landlord.
- Inventory the description, serial number, and cost of your valuables. Keep a copy of your records online, in a fireproof locked box, or in a bank safe deposit box. Take pictures of your most valuable items and attach those to your receipts to make any insurance claims run as smoothly as possible.
- Keep a broom handle or other long stick in the track of sliding glass doors. This may deter a break-in.
- Purchase light timers and set them so that your lights turn on when you’re away from home in the evening.
- Take in your newspaper and packages on a daily basis.