Once you have selected a place to live off-campus, take a few minutes to review the following security suggestions. Safety is based on awareness and personal responsibility. If you are living with other people, it is important that everyone shares the responsibility to create a safe household. Here are some personal safety tips:
Leasing and Exchanging Money or Information
If a potential roommate or leasing agent/landlord, or someone purporting to act on his or her behalf, proposes to send you a check (for a security deposit, rent, or any reason) and then asks that you use a portion of the money and return money from that check to them, it is (almost certainly a scam!
Never give someone cash for “paper” (a check, money order, Traveler’s cheque, IOU etc.) until your bank has presented the instrument to the original bank and it has been paid. If you have sufficient funds on deposit with a bank to cover such an instrument, they will give you cash for the paper if you present it to them with your endorsement. If the paper then turns out to be counterfeit (or otherwise dishonorable) and the maker’s bank will not pay it, you'll be held accountable. This is a popular Internet scam (especially on Craigslist). UNC students have lost thousands of dollars to such scammers.
Home Security Tips
Leave a light on when you are gone, or purchase a utility timer that can turn lights off and on automatically.
Test smoke detectors every month.
Purchase renter's insurance, it's generally inexpensive and may save you money if there is an accident or a burglary.
If you have boxes and/or packaging from flat screen TVs, stereo systems, computers and other valuable items that needs to be recycled/disposed of, do not just leave it out on the curb...this is an invitation to potential thieves that you have something worth stealing. Break down boxes and take them to the local recycling center and take trash to a dumpster.
Keep emergency numbers in an accessible location for all of the tenants.
Know your roommates' security habits. You are only as safe as your roommates allow you to be.
Don't advertise your class and work schedules.
Always keep doors and windows locked. Pay particular attention to this if you live on the ground floor.
Be aware of all visitors to your home.
Ask to see a 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 not sure 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
Secure your electronic items when you are going to be out of town.
If you lose your keys, work with your landlord to replace your locks immediately.
Don't put ID tags on your key ring.
Have someone check on your place when you are out of town.
Get to know your neighbors and the area in which your home is located.
Do not walk alone after dark. Contact a friend who can take you where you need to go,
Never leave your key outside under a mat or in a place accessible to a stranger.
Never leave notes on your door or messages on your answering machine that indicates you are away.
Keep bushes, shrubs, and trees trimmed back so they do not block windows or obscure sight lines.
For emergencies, dial 9-1-1. This will connect you with emergency responders for your municipality.
You might need to contact law enforcement for a non emergency reason. Here is some contact information for area police departments should you need to do so. Remember, if there is an emergency, dial 911!