Off Campus Safety Tips

From Tim Young, Director of Campus Safety

No one can predict if and when a home will be broken into or what neighborhood it will happen. I can however tell you if your home appears to be an easy target you could fall prey to a burglar. If you discover that your home has been broken into call 911 immediately and report the incident. If you are at home and someone is attempting to break into your home call 911 and stay on the line. By staying on the line, the dispatcher will be able to keep track of your status and you will be able to provide important information about the thieves to the responding police officers. Once the police officers have arrived and the situation has stabled, determine what was taken. If you find that your credit or debit cards have been stolen, immediately contact your credit card companies and financial institutions.

It is important to be aware that crime happens in all communities and follows no set social rule to whom it happens and in what neighborhood it will happen. Crime prevention is key to stopping the ability and opportunity for a criminal. Make yourself a tough target by following some recommended crime prevention tips.

Before moving into a neighborhood surrounding Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University you should check with the local Neighborhood Watch. Visit the Kalamazoo City website and find the neighborhood you are considering. Give the president of the Neighborhood Watch in your area a call and learn more about the neighborhood and how you can work with your neighbors to help keep you safe and your property secure.

Once you have located a place to live and have moved in you should follow these basic rules:

  • Install and use good deadbolt locks in your doors. If you are renting ask your landlord if these can be installed. Do not trust door chains, and make it a habit to keep your doors locked even when you’re at home (about half of all burglars enter through unlocked doors and windows).
  • Secure sliding glass doors with locks or a rigid wooden dowel wedged in the track. Make sure all windows are locked at nighttime and when you are away.
  • Trim back shrubbery hiding doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb to a second story window. Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lit.
  • Install a peephole or viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door and don’t open the door to anyone you do not know. When going away make sure your home appears occupied. Leave a light on and a radio or television playing.
  • If you will be gone for several days invest in a timing device to turn lights on and off and arrange to have the mail and papers stopped or picked up.

Remember that half of all home burglaries occur during the day when alert neighbors could spot and report the thieves. So, get involved with your local Neighborhood Watch and do your part to help keep yourself and the community safe.