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A Quick And Easy Guide To Help You Stay Safe While Living Off Campus

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.

Safety checklist

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/

 

You Could Save Money Simply By Finding An Apartment For Rent Off Campus

Typically, one of the most expensive aspects of attending college is paying for your living expenses.  This includes items such as your rent and your food. If you are living on campus, rent is set by the university typically depending on availability and your class status.  Depending on whether you are a freshman or upper class, this can vary significantly.  Typically, if you live on campus you may be required to purchase a meal plan.  That requirement doesn’t change regardless of whether or not you take advantage of it.  The bottom line is expenses keeps piling up forcing you to look for an alternative that allows the convenience of being close to campus yet provides a way to reduce out of pocket expenses. WHAT IS THE ANSWER? Find an apartment for rent off campus and save money.

Compare Rent Off and On Campus

Depending on where your campus is located, you may be able to find a better deal by finding an apartment for rent or even a house off-campus. Same for food–you may be able to cut your food budget by opting out of a traditional meal plan.

Take the time to research the cost of renting an apartment in the community surrounding your college or university.  Factor in the shared costs of having a roommate or two. Determine whether or not utilities are additional to the rent and if so the approximate or average monthly costs for each. Determine the additional transportation cost involved with getting to and from school and include it in your computations. Once you have all of your calculations, compare it with the cost of living in the dorms.

It’s also a good idea to learn exactly how your lease would work. Some apartments that cater to college students will have each roommate sign their own lease. It is also to find out whether or not your university restricts students to renting from university approved apartment complexes.

When the dust settles and all the data is reviewed, you may find that living off campus is the right move for you.  You can not only save money, but can enjoy a little more independence and freedom. Before you jump right in and make the switch let’s look at some details you need to consider a little more closely.

All the extra costs involved with finding an apartment for rent

Generally,  the dorm will cover all of your utility costs and internet fees. Your off-campus apartment may or may not do this. You need to consider how much each of these expenses will cost when comparing the costs of these two living options. Additionally, you need to determine how much you will need to pay extra for transportation if you are going to live off campus. Otherwise, you may need to pay for bus fees, unless you are within walking distance of the campus. Keep in mind that the closer you are to campus, the higher your rent may be.

How much can you save without relying on the meal plan

Often the meal plan is one of the more expensive aspects of university housing. However, you may be able to save money on the meal plan if different levels of the plan are offered.  Some examples may include choosing a plan with only two meals a day or one that has more limited dining options. You might also find a way to combine a reduced meal plan with preparing food at your apartment that saves money. You might consider purchasing a meal plan that only includes lunches on campus.

What is right option for you

Once you consider both living options, it’s time to make a decision. You may find it more convenient to live on campus because you can spend more time focused on your schoolwork. But you may also need to choose the most inexpensive option.

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 and are considering off campus housing give us a call and let one of our experienced leasing agents TODAY.  If you are looking for an apartment for rent in Canyon TX, we have 11 apartment communities to choose from.  Call TODAY (806) 373-8333 or check out the current vacancies in your area by visiting our Vacancies page on our website.