Keep your home free of clutter, trash piles, and other accumulated items. Use space heaters, particularly kerosene heaters, with caution. Barbecuing on porches, roofs, or indoors is unsafe and a possible fine of $600.00 maximum could be issued.
Make sure your electrical system is in good order. Check all appliances for frayed spots. Do not overload your circuits. If your fuses or circuit breakers are continually shutting off power, the system is overloaded. Do not put too many plugs into one outlet; this may cause a fire.
There should be two means of exit from each living unit. Know the location of all the fire extinguishers and fire alarms in the building. Ask your landlord to provide a smoke alarm or purchase one yourself. If you feel that your home is not reasonably safe from fire, advise your landlord, Fire Department, or City Building Inspector.
Ask the landlord to install new locks when moving into a house or apartment. If the landlord is not willing to change the locks to your satisfaction, ask if you can make the change at your expense and provide him/her with a key in case of an emergency. Do not leave extra keys where they can be easily found.
Use deadbolt locks (especially those with a key) or sliding barrel locks on all doors to the outside. For your garage, cellar, or other utility doors, use crossbars and hasp locks. Do not use cheap locks or spring-snap locks; they are easily opened. Make sure all windows, including cellar windows, are locked.
Mark your valuables with a driver’s license number or other identifiable mark (not your Social Security Number). Talk to Campus Police about borrowing an engraver. This will aid in the recovery of stolen valuables and help the police trace items. If you cannot engrave an item, write down its description and serial number. If you cannot prove ownership of a stolen item, the police will not release it to you.
A well-lit house and garage is an excellent burglar deterrent. At night, leave a couple of lights on inside the house. When you are away, do not leave any notes saying when you will return.
One of your most important ways of protecting your home is to know your neighbors. Make them fully aware of your living habits such as who comes and goes and when. If you notice a stranger doing something out of the ordinary, call the police immediately.
Preparing for Extended Vacations
When leaving for an extended time, consider some basic precautions:
- Cancel daily deliveries of mail and newspapers or arrange for someone to pick them up.
- Keep a couple of lights on in the house or install an automatic timer to turn them on.
- Close your curtains partially.
- Ask a neighbor and the police to watch your home.
- Arrange to have grass mowed or snow shoveled.
Utilize the Campus Escort Service
The Escort Service provides alternatives to walking alone after dark. The service is designed for students, but is open to the campus community. Contact Campus Police at 610-606-4471 or dial “0” from any phone on campus to request an escort.