Streetwise and Safe at Home | University of Portland

Streetwise and Safe at Home

  • You should be personally responsible for your keys; hence, they should not be given to anyone else. Take care of your keys! Don't give anyone the chance to duplicate them. Don't leave a key over the door or nearby your room. Give an extra key to a neighbor you trust. When moving into a new place, make sure the locks have been re-keyed.

  • Do not leave exterior doors (especially sliding glass doors) and windows unlocked or propped open even when you are home! Make sure all lower level windows and doors are secure before exiting your residence. You can secure sliding glass doors by installing commercially available locks or putting a broomstick or dowel in the inside track to jam the door. To prevent the door being lifted off the track, drill a hole through the slide doorframe and the fixed frame. Then insert a pin in the hole. Lock double-hung windows with key locks or "pin" your windows by drilling a small hole into a 45-degree angle between the inner and outer frames, then insert a nail that can be removed. Secure basement windows with grilles or grates. (Get permission from landlord first!)
  • Make sure the door closes and locks behind you when entering or exiting your home. Door chains break easily and don't keep out intruders. All door hardware problems should be reported to your landlord immediately.

  • Do not allow anyone whom you don't know access into your home. Know who's at the door before you open it. Have wide-angle peepholes installed.

  • If applicable, know how to operate your home's security system. Don't "cry wolf" by setting off false alarms. People will stop paying attention and you'll probably be fined. A big, barking dog is great as well!

  • Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep them on at night.

  • Keep your yard clean. Prune back shrubbery so it doesn't hide doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that a thief could use to climb to an upper-level window.

  • If you travel, create the illusion that you're at home by getting some timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of your house throughout the evening. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.

  • Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions. And don't let your mail pile up! Call the post office to stop delivery or have a neighbor pick it up.

  • Purses, wallets, and other such items should be locked in a desk drawer, closet, file cabinet or some similar area. Don't leave valuables, like your wallet, checkbook, or jewelry, in open view. Make a list of your valuables - VCRs, stereos, computers, jewelry. Take photos of the items, list their serial numbers and description. Check with law enforcement about engraving your valuables through Operation Identification.

  • Ask local law enforcement for a free home security survey.

  • If something looks questionable - a slit screen, a broken window or an open door - don't go in. Call the police from a neighbor's house, a public phone, or a cell phone from a safe distance away.

  • At night, if you think you hear someone breaking in, leave safely if you can, then call the police. If you can't leave, lock yourself in a room with a phone and call the police. If an intruder is in your room, pretend you are asleep.

  • Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be away from home now, say "I'm not available right now." Hang up immediately on any obscene or harassing phone calls. Report them to Campus Safety immediately.

  • Join a Neighborhood Watch group. If one doesn't exist, you can start one with help from local law enforcement.

  • Look out for your fellow students. Report any and all suspicious activity and crime to Campus Safety immediately.