Before signing the lease

By Riley McMahon, [email protected]

One of the best parts about going to college is living on your own. Many students spend their freshman year living in a dorm, experiencing all of the firsts as a college student. Then, as a sophomore, they begin looking for something a little more grown up. This is the part in students’ college careers where they start touring apartment complexes, condos, and houses. They gather up their friends and prepare to have the best time of their lives.

If this is you, and if you’re considering living off Exchange Street, let me give you a little heads up. During my junior year of college, my friends and I were excited to live in a house together. Perhaps we might have been a little naive about what to expect. I moved in August of 2015 and since then we have been robbed twice. Many of our cars have been broken into, my roommate’s car was stolen, and I have caught people looking in my windows on several different occasions.

Now don’t let me scare you. Living in a house on campus is all a part of the fun of college, but I’m here to just give you all some tips on how to be safer when you do sign that lease.

First of all, make sure your house is up to safety code. This is something my roommates and I did not know about until after the second time we were robbed. You can have an officer come to your house and do one for you. To no surprise, my house was not up to code.

Make sure you always deadbolt the doors in the house — no matter what. Even if you are just upstairs, make sure the door is locked and deadbolted. Always keep your blinds closed, windows locked, and leave nothing sitting on the porches like bikes, grills, or really anything of value. Keep your cars completely cleaned out, because if a person sees something in there they want, they will get it. Be aware of your surroundings.

I have learned so much from living in my house near campus. Now I pay attention a lot more than I used to. Trust me: there are a lot of good things that come out of living on or near campus. The memories do overcome the negatives.

Find a place that suites you and make sure it’s a safe, liveable place. Regardless of the street or house, this is Akron and anything can happen. Befriend your neighbors and watch out for each other. Having good people to rely on is very important. Good luck on finding some place safe.