5 Apartment Safety Tips for Fall Semester

By Julia Dunn on August 18, 2017

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Now that we’re in mid-August, many college students are getting ready to start the fall term. Whether you’ve been living in your college town all summer long or are just now moving into a new house or apartment with some friends, apartment safety is always useful to review before things start getting busy on campus.

Here are some apartment safety tips to keep in mind for the fall semester/quarter.

1. Make sure to lock the door

On hectic mornings when you’re looking for your keys, ID, lunch bag, jacket, backpack, water bottle and folders all at the same time, locking the door can slip your mind. This is a super simple way to reduce your chances of getting robbed, and generally, locking the door is the best way to secure all your belongings.

Before locking the door, also remember to close the blinds if you have any windows accessible to anyone outside — if valuable items are visible through your windows when you leave, you risk somebody breaking in regardless of whether you remembered to lock the door. These basic safety precautions are fundamental to remember this semester and always.

Image via Pixabay.com

2. Connect with at least one neighbor or fellow resident

In the fall, new folks are usually moving to new apartments if you live in a college town. It’s a smart idea to pay attention to whether new people are moving in nearby or next door to your apartment, and get to know them if possible. Even knowing just one other resident in your apartment complex or neighborhood can be a lifesaver if you need someone to watch over your doorstep if packages are dropped off while you’re not home, or if you just want to clarify something your landlord sent out in a blast email.

Make an effort to at least stop by to say hello and exchange phone numbers if at all possible. Your peace of mind will increase!

3. Consider buying a safe

If you own any extremely valuable items — a fancy camera, an extra laptop, a pair of those mystifying yet cool Google glasses — you might get a little more anxious than you normally would about the notion of someone ever breaking into your place. These items could be the first to go.

The solution? Store them in a safe. This is just about the most secure way to protect valuables. College students might not see the need for a safe (I usually picture older folks actually owning and using safes), but it can be a great investment especially if you don’t live in the safest neighborhood.

If you can’t afford one, consider storing expensive valuables in a very obscure and hard to access location (like the very top shelf of your closet, an area difficult for even you to reach unless you really needed something). To further enhance your apartment’s safety, consider getting renters insurance: a relatively inexpensive way to ensure that in the event of a break in/theft, your belongings would be replaced and you’d receive compensation equal to what was stolen.

4. If you live alone, don’t make it obvious

Don’t go out of your way to tell people around you that you live alone. This sounds fundamental, but more often than not, folks will bring it up from time to time without realizing the dangerous repercussions of doing so. The more you mention living alone while talking with friends in public, the higher a chance there is of the wrong person overhearing and possibly showing up at your place with questionable intentions.

At night, it’s good to leave a light on when you leave the house so that your house still looks occupied (and it helps you out upon your return, when you’d otherwise be fumbling around in the dark looking for a light switch).

5. Invest in a doormat

In fall semester, rain starts becoming a thing again after many dry summer months (depending on where you live, of course). To minimize the chances of you slipping on your kitchen tiles upon arrival home from school, be sure to place a good quality doormat on your front step so that you can rub the mud or water off of your shoes before you go inside. Not only is this a simple fall safety tip, but it’s also a quick way to keep your floors cleaner. Students want to minimize the need to clean!

Overall, to stay safe this fall, make sure you check that everything in your apartment is working properly: drains, faucets, door locks, etc. If something is defective or otherwise broken, contact your landlord right away before the issue worsens.

You’ll want to make sure your place is up to date and fully functioning this fall before the air turns colder and weather conditions get wilder. For more advice and resources for apartment living, visit your campus’ rentals office or talk to your peers, housemates, and friends about apartment safety. They just might have some tips you didn’t think of!

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By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
A writer, editor and educator based in Northern California.

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