Safety & Healthy Living
Home Security and Safety (In partnership with Campus Safety)
- Assure there are no exposed wires or outlets that are not properly installed
- Make sure balconies, decks, stairs, etc. are safe and sturdy
- Make sure fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors work
- Make sure there are no signs of mold, mildew, or water damage
- If you have allergies, the cleanliness of the vents and air handling system are important considerations
- Make use of door and window locks (deadbolts, window pins, sliding glass door bars & upgrade if needed. If the locks on the doors or windows do not work or close properly, contact your landlord.
- Use external lighting for better visibility (motion sensor lamps, flood lamps, etc). Leave your front and back porch lights on after dark. Lighting is the cheapest and most effective way of deterring criminal activity.
- Leave a light on inside while you’re away so your house will look occupied and you won’t return to a dark house. Purchase a timer for your lights.
- When you leave your house ensure all doors and windows are locked.
- Don’t hide a spare key outside of your house.
- Even when you’re inside your home, ensure your doors and windows are locked.
- Draw shades and curtains at night to prevent people from peeking in.
- Install a blocking device or removal pins on your windows so you can open them slightly for ventilation. This will help prevent anyone from gaining access through a completely open window.
- If there is a window air conditioning unit, check to see if it can be easily removed. If it can, ask your landlord to secure it properly.
- Have your landlord supply screens or storm windows for additional protection.
- Do not open doors to strangers (identify the person verbally, install peepholes or look out a window before opening the door).
- Ask repair and maintenance men for identification before allowing them inside.
- Know your neighbors and neighborhood (cars, kids, delivery persons, business, etc.). Know what is normal for your neighborhood.
- Have a neighbor watch your house (pick-up the mail & papers, shovel sidewalks, mow the lawn, etc) when you are out of town. Do the same for them.
- Keep bushes and trees trimmed away from doors and windows. Untrimmed vegetation provides concealment for criminals.
- Report any maintenance problems involving safety to the landlord. Keep a list of the repairs, when reported and when repaired.
- Bring your bicycle inside your house.
- Use your first initial (instead of first name) on the mail box and/or doorbell.
- If you have an assigned parking area, ensure there is adequate lighting provided.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher and keep it easily accessible in a central location.
- Ensure all your smoke detectors work. If you have no smoke detectors, get some or have the landlord supply them.
- Have a home escape route planned (In case of an emergency. Know how to get out).
- For Apartments: is there some kind of control over who enters the building? Are entrances, parking area, hallways, stairways and laundry room well lit? Are fire stairs locked from the stairwell side (this permits tenants to escape but other cannot enter)? Are door hinges on the outside of the door? If so, ensure there is a pin in the door hinge to prevent the hinge pin from being removed. Are laundry rooms and storage areas kept locked? Is there more than one exit in case of fire?
- Report all crimes and suspicious people or activity to CSPD.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED): Campus Safety and the campus CSPD officer can come do a CPTED assessment of a property that you are living in to look at potential risks and to make recommendations about mitigating those risks. It completely free and helps ensure maximum safety. They can even provide a smoke detector if needed. Contact Campus Safety for more information about this.
Personal Safety (In partnership with Campus Safety)
- Decrease your chances of assault by walking with someone else.
- Avoid walking in areas with limited lighting, especially alleys and parks.
- If you think you are being followed, walk towards areas that are most likely to be populated and call CSPD immediately.
- Tell others where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Stay alert and keep your mind on your surroundings.
- Be suspicious of everyone and everything. Trust your instincts.
- Act confident and walk with a purpose. Make eye contact.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes and avoid carrying lots of packages.
- Carry your whistle.
Creating a Healthy Living Environment For YOU, especially during a Pandemic? (In Partnership with the Wellness Resource Center)
We spend a majority of our time inside, and a majority of that time is spent in our homes. These built environments are a key component of our wellbeing. At a minimum, we need to make sure that the home we live in is safe (no mold, doors lock, carbon monoxide detectors, etc.). But we also need to think about how the built environment impacts our wellbeing more broadly.
Your living environment
- Natural light is a key factor in wellbeing. Consider the windows in your space and how the light makes you feel.
- Air quality (see safety above). Tip: Plants help purify the air, and are a great reminder to open the shades and let light in.
- Our minds need quiet for at least a part of our days, so consider the noise of a home. Can you hear road noise? Can you hear your rommates or neighbors in your bedroom? Do the neighbors do things (play music, host gatherings, have a dog that barks a lot, etc.) that might make it difficult to sleep?
- How will you find YOUR balance of social and alone time in the home?
Location, Location, Location
How will you get to the grocery store, or run other errands? Mass transit has been deeply impacted by the pandemic.
- Bus routes in Colorado Springs have been limited. Learn more at Mountain Metro’s website.
- At this time, there is uncertainty about the COVID-19 risks associated with riding mass transit, but the CDC offers tips for staying safer.
- Heating and air conditioning
On the surface, renting a house or apartment may seem a lot cheaper than being on a college housing and meal plan. But, there are often hidden costs to renting off campus. Make sure you understand whether utilities, trash collection, internet access, landscaping maintenance, and parking fees are included in your rent or not. If you are responsible for utilities, ask previous tenants what the average gas/electric bill was each month; and it’s worth checking to see if the windows and doors seal well—it’s no fun to have cold drafts all winter, and it can also mean very expensive utility bills! Consider also whether you’ll have to purchase things like trash baskets, pots & pans, dishes, furniture, window coverings, etc.
- CashCourse is an on-line guide to making informed financial choices with courses and tools for establishing budgets and determining how much things will actually cost. Create your account with your CC email to access this resource.
- The CC Financial Aid Office is also a great resource to talk through the financial implications of moving off campus.
Neighbor Relations and Social Host Responsibilities
Neighbors may not make an effort to meet you.
Introduce yourself and be friendly when you see neighbors (remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing while doing so)
Keep your property clean
Keep your noise to a minimum
In the time of COVID, you should not be hosting or participating in gatherings of more than 10 people. However, it is worth emphasizing that students who live off-campus are expected to maintain positive neighbor relations and may be disciplined under the Community Standards for behavior that disrupts neighbors, violates the law, or otherwise negatively impacts or threatens to negatively impact the reputation of the college.
- You are responsible for the size and activities occurring at or associated with any gatherings you host. Examples of irresponsible hosting include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to enforce mask wearing, social distancing, or limiting the number of people present to ten or fewer
- Noise complaints (including from guests coming/going)
- Make sure if you are hosting an event that noise cannot be heard outside your home by walking the perimeter of the home and noting the distance from the house where you can hear noise
- Providing alcohol to underage students
- Any time you serve alcohol, you are assuming civil and criminal liability as a social host, including for injuries caused by a guest to whom you served alcohol
- Unmonitored sources of alcohol – even if you did not hand a minor an alcoholic beverage you may still be responsible for providing alcohol to minors if you are not monitoring the situation
- Public urination (by you or your guests)
- Littering (by you or your guests)
Consider what other supports you might need to be well and to thrive. For instance, if you are exposed to COVID or become ill, resources like the Health Center and Counseling Center will still be available to you; and Campus Safety would likely be able to offer some supports. But, students living off campus are responsible for coordinating for their needs like meals/food, medication delivery, transportation to healthcare, etc.
- Consider what is required to isolate or quarantine “at home” and determine whether you would be able to manage this in the house or apartment you are considering.
- CDC guidance if you are sick
- CDC guidance for those living in close quarters such as shared apartments or small houses.
- CDC guidance for caring for someone who is ill