College living in an apartment complex can be an exciting time for many young adults, but it’s important to remember that with living on your own for the first time comes being responsible and watching out for your safety. College students are often targets for crime—both from within and without the college community—and you can improve your chances of living safely by taking minor precautions.
Apartment Robbery, Big and Small
One crime that you should be concerned about during college living is apartment robbery. This includes a stranger breaking into your apartment and stealing your valuables, but it also includes a friend, roommate, neighbor or acquaintance who feels that he should have free access to your things.
For example, someone you know may use up your toiletries or pop in your apartment to grab some food. This is a much more frequent attitude in college communities than in other communities because young adults are just starting their own lives and are not always used to respecting people’s boundaries.
To help deter both kinds of robbery, always lock your apartment door, when you’re home and when you’re away. This forces nosy acquaintances to knock before entering and keeps them out when you’re away. If it’s your roommate, you’ll have to have a talk with him or her. If possible, lock your bedroom door. As for deterring larger robberies, try not to have a lot of electronics and valuables viewable from the windows and get some blinds so no one can peak in.
College students are somewhat frequent targets for mugging, especially late at night. To decrease your chances of becoming a victim, walk in a group when possible and stick to lighted areas. If you drive home, make sure your apartment complex’s parking lot is well-lit.
Avoid coming home alone when intoxicated, so that someone sober can keep an eye on your surroundings. Don’t carry a lot of valuables and make it a part of college living to carry pepper spray when you’re planning on coming home after dark.
Another frequent unfortunate part of college living is the somewhat higher prevalence of stalkers than in the rest of society because of the active social scene. Following the instructions for avoiding mugging and robbery can help increase your safety when dealing with potential stalkers, but you can also decrease your chances of getting stalkers in the first place if you’re careful about giving out your personal information until you’re comfortable with a person and you avoid one-night stands.
If you think someone who goes to the college is stalking you, contact the students services office as well as the police or just contact the police if the person is not from your school. You may have to move if the stalker lives in the same apartment complex as you.
An essential part of college living when you’re living off-campus is apartment safety. You won’t have the extra protections offered by the school campus dorms, so always be aware of your surroundings and do what you can to live safely.