Safety and Security

When looking for housing off-campus, it is important that you keep in mind your own security and safety. When inspecting a potential rental unit, use our checklist to be sure it is secure. Check our list of police departments and investigate the crime statistics in the area. Once you've moved into a unit, keep in mind our tips for staying safe. Be aware and be prepared!

Questions to Consider

There are many different things you should ask yourself as you inspect a rental unit's security. Use this checklist to be sure that both the interior and exterior of your home are as safe and secure as possible.

EXTERNAL SECURITY

  • Are the buildings and grounds well maintained? 
  • Are entryways visible from the street? 
  • Is the mailbox lockable and in good condition? 
  • Is the area well lit at night and on weekends? 
  • Does the apartment complex provide security services? (patrols, escorts, etc) 
  • How close is the building to high traffic, well-traveled areas? 
  • Are shrubs cut below window level? 
  • Are tree limbs cut above window level so that you can see in and out of your home? 
  • Is the unit number visible from the street? 
  • Is the property near fire stations and other emergency services? 
  • Are the alleys around the residence clean?

INTERNAL SECURITY

  • What kind of security does the unit have? (knob locks, chains, deadbolts, peepholes, etc) 
  • Is there a security system in the building? 
  • Is there a sufficient number of working smoke detectors in the living space and in hallways? Are they battery-operated or hardwired? 
  • Are there adequate emergency escape routes in case of a fire? 
  • Are there fire extinguishers? 
  • Do curtains, blinds, or draperies fully cover windows? 
  • Are there safe places to go in case of a tornado? 

SECURITY AT ENTRANCES

  • Are there sturdy locks on all the windows? 
  • Are security bars/screens provided if it is a ground floor or basement unit? 
  • Are doors to the laundry room kept locked? 
  • Does the landlord have a published policy about issuing and replacing keys? 
  • Does the building have a doorman or buzzer for guests and deliveries? 
  • Are locks on the doors of the buildings and apartments adequately secure? 
  • Is there a peephole at the door? 
  • Do doors have deadbolt locks? 
  • Does the door securely fit the jamb? 
  • Are key control procedures used to ensure that locks are changed when keys are lost or not returned? 
  • Are you informed of who has keys to your living space? 
  • Do sliding glass doors have blocking cleats to prevent opening from the outside? 
  • Can windows left open for ventilation be secured? 
  • Are window air-conditioners secured from the inside? 
  • Are door locks located so they can't be reached through a window?
Tips on Being Safe

Once you've chosen a new place to live, review these tips on being safe to be sure that your home stays secure.

INTERNAL

  • Leave a light on when you are gone, or purchase a utility timer that can turn lights off and on automatically. 
  • Check smoke detectors every month. If there is no smoke detector, ask your landlord to install one. 
  • Purchase renter's insurance. It may save you money if there is an accident or a burglary. 
  • Keep emergency numbers in the phone. 
  • Know your roommates' security habits. You are only as safe as your roommates allow you to be.

ENTRANCES

  • 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 unsure about 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.

EXTERNAL

  • Have someone check on your place when you are out of town, and have the post office hold your mail. If you subscribe to papers, hold those as well. 
  • Get to know your area. Know where not to walk, and where streets and alleys lead. 
  • Never leave your key outside under a mat or in a place accessible to a stranger. 

ALARM SYSTEMS
An alarm system should be the last security measure applied to a residence. Alarms can never remedy poor physical security and habits. False alarms are common, and many people ignore them. If the home you are considering has an alarm, have the system monitored and maintained by an alarm company.


Information About Crime Statistics

Before you make a decision on a particular location, it is a good idea to visit the area both during the day and at night to get a feel for the safety of the area. Pay attention to the noise level, activity, and the appearance of the buildings nearby. 

Click here for information on crime statistics on campus and in the immediate campus vicinity.

The PG County Police have released crime statistics for 2015. The University and its surrounding area are inside PG County Police District One, across sectors A6, A7, B6, and B3.