Off-Campus Rentals: Staying Safe in a College Town
Though tragically high-profile stories like 2007's massacre at Virginia Tech may grab the headlines, property crimes are far more common in the neighborhoods surrounding the nation's universities.
In fact, a recent nationwide study of the most dangerous neighborhoods for property crime zeroed in on the University of California, Berkeley's neighbor, Isla Vista, as having the highest property crime rate in the country, with an average of 1,019 crimes reported per 1,000 residents. That's better than 100 percent odds of getting robbed!
The list was so chockablock with university towns that the study's authors released a followup report of the top 15 college crime areas. Even at the bottom of that list, Saint Louis University, you stand a one in three chance of becoming a victim. Why? The article pins the blame on "a young, transient population who are often on their own for the first time, living in close quarters, and not securing their belongings."
1. Leave a light on to make it look like you're home. If you typically arrive home after dark, consider an inexpensive timer.
2. Keep items out of common spaces like porches and stairwells. Even with a lock, a bike stored outside is just begging to be snatched.
3. Lock doors and windows every time you leave. Every door, every window, every time.
4. Buy personal security gear if your area allows it. But remember that a simple coach's whistle can be an effective tool, too.
5. Use security floodlights to shed some light on dangerous areas of your property. Check with your landlord to see if he'll install them -- it might get him a break on his insurance.
For more ideas see How Renters Can Protect Against Crime.
Still trying to decide which is right for you? Here are some AOL Real Estate guides to help you no matter whether you choose to buy or rent:
More on AOLReal Estate:
Find out how tocalculate mortgagepayments.
Findhomes for salein your area.
Findforeclosuresin your area.
Getproperty tax helpfrom our experts.