Common Sense Home Safety Rules You’re Breaking

There are so many safety tips that may seem like common sense, but for some reason people (myself included) break these rules all the time. Between our hectic work and home schedules, it can often be easier to trust the outside world not to harm us, but in reality this is never a safe way to live; especially in a busy, high population city like New York or Los Angeles.

But no matter where you live, here are some common sense tips you’re probably ignoring:

1.) Lock your door. This has to be one of the easiest things to do and yet so many people fail to do it! Sure, you’re probably in a hurry, and sure, you’re probably only going to be gone for a second, but just take the extra moment to lock your door! Most home burglars look for the easiest possible home to break into, and an unlocked house is certainly very appetizing. It takes hardly any time at all, and doing it every time you leave the house will ingrain the habit into your mind.

2.) Leave a light on. We’ve been trained over the years to turn all the lights off when leaving a room, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with doing our part to save the earth on a daily basis. However, leaving a light on in the window at night will go a long way towards saving yourself from a dangerous situation. Burglars want to be as unseen as possible, so even if they know you aren’t home, a light is still going to deter them for fear that someone else will see them. Use a compact fluorescent bulb to save on your utility bill spiking through the roof and even pair it with low-playing music to better protect yourself.

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3.) Be careful when answering the door. This is home safety 101. Even as young children we were all taught to be careful of strangers, yet as soon as we grow up we throw all of that well-intentioned advice out the door…literally. Don’t let your trusting nature get the best of you in this situation. Unless you’re expecting an electrician, don’t automatically open the door just because someone is dressed like one. Put that peephole to good use!!

4.) Get to know your neighbors. The quickest way to find out if anything suspicious was going on while you were out is to ask the people that were there. Your neighbors are you best alarm and surveillance system, not to mention they probably have the same goals that you do: to keep everyone in your building/complex out of harm’s way. Plus, knowing your neighbors will help you both help each other. You can pick up their mail for them when they’re out of town and they can do the same for you. Everyone wins!

5.) Get a pet. It doesn’t have to be a dog, really any pet makes a thief uncomfortable. Even birds will make a loud ruckus if someone unfamiliar comes barging in, not to mention starts rummaging through stuff. Remember, thieves want to choose the easiest target possible, and a locked, well-lit apartment with a loud pet is definitely not the easiest target.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

5 Cheap Ways to Increase Your Home’s Security

Everyone wants to live in a safe and secure environment, but let’s be honest, everyone does not have extra thousand dollars lying around in order to equip ourselves with a decent home security system. Plus, take away the fact that many of us aren’t allowed to have a dog in our current dwelling and we might literally feel a little exposed. Never fear though, we’ve put together a few ways to keep your home safe when you don’t have a fortune to spend.

1.) Have a roommate. Whether you live with a friend or a significant other, the more people you live with the less likely a criminal is willing to risk breaking into your house. When you are the only resident, all they have to do is follow one schedule. When you’re not home the whole place is up for grabs, but when you have a roommate, that’s a whole other person they have to keep track of. In addition, when you go out of town there’s a good chance your home will still be occupied.

2.) Fake a pet. Landlord won’t let you keep a dog in your house? A burglar doesn’t know that. Even a simple “Beware of Dog” sign on your front gate will be enough to deter the majority of home burglars. The best “fake it” story I ever heard was a mother that accidently broke the lock on her daughter’s front door, so while the house had to spend a few days unlocked before it could get fixed, the mother left a sign on the door that read:

Susan –

I accidently let your snakes out. I had to go to work but I’ll come by later to look for them.

Sorry,

-Mom

3.)  Ask the neighbors to help out. If you’re going to be gone for a weekend, ask a neighbor if they wouldn’t mind parking their car in your driveway for a couple nights. Have them stop by and get the mail for a few days as well. Nothing says “no one has been home in days” like a steadily growing stack of mail in your entryway.

4.) Set your timers. It’s fairly easy to set a timer to a few lights or your television within your home. They only cost roughly $15 and you can plug your television or lamps into them. Having flickering lights and sounds in your home will make it seem less obvious that it’s actually completely empty.

5.) Get a cheap alarmThe typical burglar is not some kind of professional, but actually a male teen living in your neighborhood. In addition, most burglars want to spend no more than 60 seconds breaking into your home. If it takes longer than that, they’ll move on to an easy target. So one of the best deterrents isn’t a fancy home security system, but a simple, loud alarm. You can a simple door alarm up at the store for about $20.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Questions to Ask Your Landlord Before You Move In

Your landlord can be quite an intimidating presence, and they can either provide a pleasant living experience or make your life a living hell. However, they are still human (most of the time), so there are plenty of things that could probably be smoothed over will a little good communication. In fact, here is a list of questions you should never be afraid of asking:

1.) Can I pay less rent? Rents are not typically negotiable, but other things often are. If your landlord isn’t willing to lower your monthly rent, ask about other things. Many times they legally can’t lower your rent (that’s set by different housing laws) but they are able to waive additional expenses. If you have a pet ask about forgoing the pet charges, or if you have an upfront parking space but ride the bus, offer to give up your parking space to have one of your utilities covered.

2.) Are there any health concerns? This should cover everything from lead-based paint to asbestos to mold. In a perfect world your apartment would have none of these concerns, but old apartments have old apartment problems, so you’ll want to cover your bases. And even if they say everything is golden, you’ll want to get an inspection notice confirming everything is, in fact, golden.

3.) Why did the last tenants move out? If they were arrested and evicted for drug issues, you’re going to have countless strangers stopping by in the first few months unaware that their dealer is in the slammer. Plus, not only will it give you a general idea of what condition the apartment might really be in, but it will give you an idea of what your landlord is like. If they were evicted for one noise complaint, you might want to move on to the next place.

4.) Can I make improvements? Landlords are extremely busy, with many of them often managing a number of residences. If you want to make some improvements, like repaint the god awful bathroom or start a garden in the backyard, ask! Many landlords will cover the cost of the supplies and might even give you a discount on your rent that month if you are improving the place.

5.) Do all the appliances work? And by work, we mean properly functions in the highest possible way. There are little things more frustrating than an appliance that just barely works, and you don’t want to find out sometime next week that your refrigerator only really works part of the time or that the heater works but only up to 62 degrees. Ask your landlord about all the cooking appliances, the dishwasher and garbage disposal (if there is one), the heating and cooling systems and the water pressure.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Should Guns be Allowed On Campus?

Hey Tumblr world, we’d like to know your opinion on this!

This is a great article talking about gun rights on campus. Meanwhile though, we’d love to get your guys’ opinions on the matter: should people be allowed to carry guns on campus? We’ve got a few pros:

Pros:

– In a situation like Virginia Tech or the movie theater shooting in Aurora, people innocent, sane people would also have a weapon to turn to in order to protect themselves and take down the crazy person with a gun.

– As the article mentions, there’s a difference between feeling safe and being safe. Many feel that if people were allowed to carry guns the environment would be safer overall.

Cons:

– College freshmen are the same age as high school seniors. Would you feel comfortable giving someone with the maturity level of a high school senior access to their own gun?

– There is a lot of drinking and drug use that typically happens on college campuses. We’re not saying everyone does it, but we’re definitely saying it happens more than it should. We don’t know about you but we don’t quite feel comfortable with a dorm party going on across the hall where alcohol and guns are both in the same room.

– Suicides are rampant during college years. Many students feel completely lost during this time in their life. Combine that with the feeling of failing a class and breaking up with your high school sweetheart, then throw a gun in the mix; would the suicide rate increase with better access to more lethal tools?

Of course these are just a few things we thought of off the top of our heads, so we’re looking for input! What do you guys think? Comment with your opinion!

So go for it: do you think concealed guns should be allowed on campus?

Questions Parents Should Ask Campus Police

When a student is trying to choose a university or college for the next four years, the efficiency of the campus security is probably the last thing on their mind. Other factors, like the academic and athletic program, price and distance from family and friends will probably be closer to the front of their mind. So here’s where the parents can come in. Wait until your son or daughter has narrowed down their top choice in schools to two or three and then ask each school these 5 questions:

1.) What qualifications to your campus security officers have? Many campus security officers have to go through similar training to that of an actual policeman, but other schools simply make them go through an 8-hour course, hand them a Taser and call it a day. You’ll want to make sure the people responding to possible threats actually know what they’re doing, compared to just a scared kid on a work-study program.

2.) Are background checks performed before security members are hired? You would think, in this day and age, that everyone would undergo a background check before they were hired, but it’s not the case. Background checks do cost money (not a lot of money) and do require some time, so a financially strapped college that needs to fill a job ASAP might skimp on something like this. Plus, the hiring process for campus security could be very different than the hiring process of the school’s professors and other staff. Don’t assume that just because one staff member has undergone a background check that all staff members have undergone a background check.

3.) How is the campus security funded and is it adequate? The national norm for the amount of an institutional budget that is spent on campus security is about 2.5-3 percent. How does this school use their funds? They can brag and brag and brag and brag about the level of personnel they have working for them, but if it’s only people because that’s all they can afford, it really doesn’t matter how outstanding they are. There is only so much so few people can handle. A financially strapped institution probably won’t be able to offer campus security escorts during sticky situations, for example.

4.) Where can I see the crime statistics for this school? One great way to know the effectiveness of campus security is checking to see how many crimes are actually reported. A safe campus doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is reported, it means that of the crimes that are reported, a healthy percentage of them are pursued and solved. Schools with little to no crime reports often mean that students aren’t reporting crimes because nothing ever happens to the perpetrators anyway.

5.) How often does the school conduct a comprehensive risk and threat analysis? The old, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra doesn’t work here. Every few years a whole new slew of problems arise, and if the campus security hasn’t been doing its research they won’t be able to do anything about them before it’s too late. Think about it; Facebook stalking has only been around fairly recently. Your school better have a plan set in place for dealing with something like that.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

How to Negotiate in a Confrontational Situation

Safety isn’t just about knowing what to do when something happens to you, it’s also about knowing how to avoid making a situation worse, and whether you’re at a party and fight starts up or you’re trying to discuss your final grade with a hostile professor, you’re going to want to handle the situation in the best possible way. Otherwise, you could end up getting clocked in the face, or worse, a horrible, undeserved final grade.

1.) Speak softly and move slowly. There’s a common difference between people who don’t get in fights and people that do get in fights: people that don’t get in fights have mastered the art of being non-threatening, and when you are non-threatening it means the other person has no reason to get defensive.

2.) Use “I” terms instead of “You” terms. You may have heard this suggestion before, but what does it mean? Well here’s an example: instead of saying, “You’re not making any sense,” say something like, “I can’t seem to understand what you’re saying.” Using “you” terms puts the blame on the other person, while using “I” terms shifts the problem to yourself. You’re essentially taking credit for the lack of communication, which once again makes it difficult for the other person to become defensive.

3.) Affirm their viewpoint. Acknowledging their perspective will also help to keep down their level of defensiveness. Say something to your busy professor along the lines of, “Hey, I know that you have a million things to do right now, but I’d really appreciate it if I could talk to you about my grade for a second.” And if you’re trying to keep your buddy from knocking out a random stranger at a house party, starting off your statement with, “Look, we all know that guy is a total douche but…” and then make your intelligent point.

4.) Ask open ended questions. Open ended questions give the other person a chance to express what is actually bothering them. Questions that end in yes and no aren’t going to get you anywhere. A flustered roommate probably isn’t mad at you; they probably have a lot on their mind and are taking it out on you. As soon as you get to what’s really on their mind, things will run more smoothly around the house. So instead of asking if you both should watch a movie tonight, ask them what kind of movie they’re in the mood for. Their answer should lead to further conversation.

5.) Know when to quit. Sometimes it’s just time to give up. That doesn’t mean you’ve lost the battle, necessarily, it simply means you’re avoiding making anything worse. If you’re trying to negotiate with someone and it starts becoming pretty clear that you aren’t going to be making any progress anytime soon, it might be time to call it a night. Cut your losses and if possible visit the situation at a later time.

And remember, if the situation can’t be deescalated, it’s always important to carry some sort of personal safety device, like a personal alarm or some pepper spray. Check out our store (www.secureoncampus.com) for even more dorm safety equipment!

Stupid Dorm Rules You Really Do Need to Follow

I know, I’ve been there; it’s 8:00 at night and your RA comes knocking on the door because whatever video game battle you’ve got going on with your roommate has gotten a bit heated and God forbid anyone on your floor has ever heard the word “crap” shouted at an above average level. Yes, this is a stupid rule, and I have no qualms with you arguing with your RA about it. Just keep in mind that they probably don’t have a problem with it, they’ve just got some jackass knocking on their door every 20 minutes to complain about it so now they have to do something.

However, there are some rules that no matter how stupid, silly or completely ridiculous they are you really, really do need to follow, for your own safety and the safety of everyone else in your dorm.

1.) No candles. Ugh, I know! How tough is it to blow out a candle, right? Well actually…think about the collective unit of possibly high, drunk or hungover and definitely sleep-deprived college students that make up the dorms. Someone’s bound to miss a candle once in a while, and then combine that with the fact that many students completely ignore fire-drills (maybe if they didn’t run them constantly and always at 2:00 in the morning more people would participate in them), and you’ve got yourself a dangerous situation. Plus, there are now a million other things you could bring that don’t have an open flame (here’s one example), so stop complaining and just follow the no candle rule.

2.) No propping doors open. Personally, this was one of my biggest vices. The act of swiping my student ID badge to get into my dorm every single freakin’ time I left the building was beyond annoying, especially when those ID badges start to wear out halfway through the semester and begin failing to let you in. But you can’t prop the door open, folks. All those creepy people your parents warned you about? Screw the dimly lit campus paths at 3:00 in the morning, if they can get into a dorm of sleeping students they’ll have the time of their life. Not to mention all the potential for stuff getting stolen.

3.) No heavy duty speakers or amps. First of all, why the hell do you need something that can be heard from three miles away? The fact is you don’t, because as soon as it’s loud enough for that guy across the hall to hear (which is not difficult with the seemingly paper thin walls of dormitories) it’s too loud. Everyone wants to escape to some good tunes every now and then but c’mon, wear some headphones. Don’t be a jackass.

And second of all, equipment like that uses up some serious electricity, and these rooms aren’t meant to withstand that kind of demand. You could end up short circuiting something, which if it doesn’t cause a fire or a blackout, it will at least waste up some of the school’s budget having to fix everything. Think you won’t see a bump in your tuition prices next year? You’re wrong. Invest in a pair of good quality headphones instead.

Don’t forget to check out our stores for more dorm safety essentials (www.secureoncampus.com) and dorm room decorations (www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com)!

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