You made the decision to move off campus and get your own apartment. You might even have a roommate or two. This is a big decision and one of the biggest decisions you have to make now is to STAY SAFE. Yes, it is a decision you make and choice to be safe. Here is a quick and easy guide for things you need to consider while living off campus to ensure you and your roommates remain as safe as possible.
Before you commit look for the following security features.
When living off campus, make sure that wherever you choose to live, your new home or apartment comes solid core wooden or metal outer doors. These outer doors should be fitted with secured deadbolt locks, or at least shielded door knobs to deter access to the locking mechanism. Peep-holes in the main entry door are great features since they will allow you to view visitors before opening a door. All windows and accessible fire escapes need good locking mechanisms. Make sure there are good working smoke detectors in place. Make sure you can identify at least two emergency escape routes in case of fire. If there are shrubs and trees surrounding your new home or apartment complex, they should be properly trimmed such that they do not allow places for concealment near doors and windows. Make sure parking areas, stairwells and hallways have good lighting to not only help you see but also to help deter crime.
Be sure to follow the DOs and DON’Ts of living off campus in an apartment. These include things that may seem like common sense but you will be amazed at how many people don’t follow these simply guidelines and then find themselves in undesirable and sometimes compromising conditions.
- Avoid putting your first name on mailboxes, use your first initial instead.
- Use timers to turn lights and televisions on and off when you are away.
- At night, lock and verify locked your windows and doors.
- Don’t allow strangers into your apartment.
- Don’t leave doors to your apartment or building unlocked.
- If you have to run an errand for a few minutes, be sure to lock up before you leave.
- DO NOT ADVERTISE that you are not home with notes on the door.
- Keep your keys in your possession at all times and NEVER hide a key that can be found by someone outside your home or apartment.
- Do not tag your keys with your name and address.
- Keep a detailed written inventory of valuables and keep your valuables locked up and secured
- If you return home and think it has been illegally entered, DO NOT ENTER, get to a safe place IMMEDIATELY and call the Police.
- Keep the phone numbers for your local Police Department members and Campus Public Safety Officers near your telephone and remember, in an emergency, just dial 911.
Whether you call it Street Smarts or simple Common Sense, USE IT when you are out and about living off campus
Well now that we have you thinking about all the ways to stay safe while you are home in your new apartment, what about all the other times when you are away. These are the times when your street smarts and common sense should take over. If you are not sure about your street smarts, here are some things to keep in mind.
- If you ever feel someone is following you, cross the street, change directions or vary your pace. If that person persists, get to a safe place where there are lots of people around and call the Police immediately. Put Campus Safety in speed dial on your phone and call if you think you are being followed while on campus. If you are off campus, call 911.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and stay in well-lit areas. Stay near people. Avoid short-cuts.
- Walk with someone you know whenever possible and no matter how kind or nice you are, it is not a good idea to stop to give directions to strangers. Remember, in today’s world anyone can find their way simply by asking their phone for directions, they don’t need you.
- Carry only the necessary credit cards and money on your person and avoid using ATM machines especially when alone and at night.
- If you carry a purse or handbag, keep it close to your body. If your purse or bag is “snatched”, don’t fight. Report the incident to the Police immediately.
- Look aware, look confident and walk briskly. Do not engage in activity that may cause you to not see or hear an attacker coming.
- Remember, ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS adversely affect your chances of avoiding or even evading an attack. STAY SOBER, STAY ALERT!
Be safe on the road
Living off campus means you will have to find a way to get back and forth to campus regualarly for class. This could mean you drive yourself, ride with a friend or use public transportation This aspect of your new life presents its own safety issues and requires you to be prepared for these new potential challenges. Here again are some things that need to be on your radar.
- Carry a bus schedule and know what route you will be taking. If you must travel after dark, arrive just before the bus is due. Sit at the front of the bus or near others on the bus.
- Always pay attention to your surroundings and any activity near you or your car. Have your key ready as you approach your vehicle. Never stand by your vehicle and fumble for your keys. If someone appears to be “hanging around” your car, keep walking.
- Park in well-lit, busy places. If you have to park in a poorly lit area, or have to walk some distance to and from your car, have someone walk with you whenever possible.
- Keep valuables out of sight or in the trunk.
- Keep your car doors and windows locked.
- Don’t stop to assist broken down vehicles.
- If you feel you are being followed, drive safely to a well-lit, occupied area such as a 24 hour gas station or grocery store, or better yet, an occupied Police vehicle, Police station or occupied Fire Station.
- Avoid using drive-up ATM machines, especially if you are alone.
- If your car breaks down, stay inside, windows up, doors locked and call for assistance. Do not get out of your vehicle until help arrives and you are able to identify them as such. When in doubt, call the Police.
For those who like to bike!
If you like the exercise and freedom of riding your bike wherever you need to go, again there are some important safety measures you need to adhere to when living off campus.
- Use reflective tape and reflector on your bike for visibility.
- Keep to the right and ride with traffic. Obey traffic laws.
- Park your bike in open, well-lit and frequently traveled areas and lock it up with a high quality bike lock.
Contact the friendly folks at LEMC Inc and let them help you make the right decision for your needs
If you are attending West Texas AMU in Canyon Texas or Amarillo College and are considering a move to off campus housing give us a call and let one of our experienced leasing agents guide you through the process. Call TODAY (806) 373-8333 or check out the current vacancies in your area by visiting https://www.331-rent.com/vacancies/