Safety tips for you and your new apartment

Moving out of the dorms and into your first apartment? Here’s some advice from University and Minneapolis police on how to keep your apartment, your car and yourself safe in your new digs.

>Keeping your apartment safe

•Before you move in, request that the locks be changed so former tenants can’t break into your room.

•Always lock your doors, even when you’re downstairs doing laundry.

•Never let a stranger follow you in, and never buzz someone you don’t know into the building.

•Don’t pay rent in cash, and request proof of payment from your landlord or building manager.

•Closing your windows isn’t enough; don’t forget to lock them too and when available use the charley bar – a device for added security.

•During long vacations, don’t let potential burglars know you’re accumating mail. Have a trusted neighbor pick it up or suspend delivery while you’re gone.

•Consider buying renter’s insurance in case of an accident or burglary in your apartment.

Keeping your car safe

•Always lock doors and close windows.

•Don’t leave your car running and unattended.

•Don’t leave valuables in your car. Loose change, CDs, book bags, iPods, among other things, left in plain sight are tempting to thieves. When you must leave valuables in the car, leave them in the trunk.

•Don’t leave an extra set of keys under the seat or in the glove box. If someone is stealing your stuff, you don’t want them to take your car too.

•Hide your GPS unit or take it inside with you. Don’t leave it sitting on its mount in your car.

•Park in well-lit and well-trafficked areas whenever possible.

•Attach a bar lock to the steering wheel to prevent thieves from getting away with your car.

Keeping yourself and the rest of your stuff safe

•Use the University’s electronic portfolio Web site and register valuables by serial numbers so they can be returned to you if stolen.

•Take pictures or videotape valuables in your apartment for proof of ownership in case of a fire or theft.

•Lock your bike with a U-Lock.

•During parties, remember to lock valuables away.

•Pay attention to information in University crime alerts.

•If you ever feel unsafe walking alone on campus, use the University police department’s security monitor program.

•Mark only your first initial and last name on your mailbox and don’t use your full name on your answering machine so people can’t pretend to know you.

•Be cautious around elevators. If you’re suspicious of another person in the elevator, wait for the next one.

•Ask for identification from repairmen before letting them in. Call their employer to verify identity if you still aren’t satisfied.

Information for this story was compiled from talking with Minneapolis crime prevention specialist Carol Oosterhuis, University Police Deputy Chief Steve Johnson and the Minneapolis police Web site.