Crime Prevention: Tips to stay safe while living off-campus

As some students at Notre Dame moved on campus earlier this week many seniors moved off, excited for a new experience.

“We loved being in the dorms for the first three years, but we are ready to have a little bit more freedom I would say,” says senior Kristina Porada.

With more freedom comes more responsibility and that includes taking the proper precautions to stay safe. Something some of these seniors have already done.

“Make sure the belongings from your cars are removed and just keeping the lights on to make sure it’s known by other people that someone is home,” explains Collin Corcoran.

“We close our blinds in every room so that people can’t look in,” adds Timothy Fulnecky.

“My dad actually found this place for us and he liked it because he felt it was super safe because its closer to campus and also it has a good alarm system if we need it and just there's a lot of people around us,” says Anna Langhenry.

In addition to that, the South Bend Police Department recommends talking to your neighbors. Let them know who is normally allowed to enter your property, and don't put that box your computer or big screen TV came in outside in your trash. That tells everyone what you bought.

Some of these students learned that taking the proper precautions is important every night.

“Having used the grill maybe six, seven times, a little over a week, and we usually lock it in our shed and we forget to lock it in the shed and we come out the next night to start cooking and our grill is gone,” says Fulnecky.

“It’s a little disturbing to know that someone was on our property,” says Corcoran.

“Since then we haven't left anything out. You know, we all have bikes and new grills so we lock those things up every night and we take care of our stuff because it is frustrating when you get robbed,” adds Fulnecky.

Here is the full list of tips. If you have any questions about crime prevention you can always call the South Bend Police Department.

-If you are living off-campus develop a group of trusted neighbors and start your own small neighborhood watch group. It can be quite informal. Just introduce yourself and let them know who is normally allowed to enter and exit your property. Ask them to call police if they see anyone suspicious around your residence and that you personally will be present if property is being removed from your place.

-Keep your residence looking “lived-in”. Keep lights on and curtains or blinds closed at night. Always keep your doors and windows locked and if you have a garage, keep it closed. (A light timer makes a great $10.00 housewarming gift.)

-Don’t put boxes and packaging out for the trash that advertises your property. The box that your laptop or big-screen TV came in is an attention getter when it is next to the curb.

-Equally, keep your vehicle interior as sterile as possible. Don’t leave backpacks, electronics or shopping bags where they are visible. Keep it all in the trunk or out of view. Many vehicles are broken into every day for nothing more than the loose change visible inside.

-If you are traveling on foot, travel in groups. Do not walk home alone after dark on a deserted street or alley. Travel only on well lighted, main thoroughfares and with a few friends.

-Our department works closely with campus security and police to offer crime prevention tips for both on and off-campus residents. Look for upcoming safety fairs and information circulated via messaging and newspapers and join us for more tips.

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