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Will my apartment be safe while I'm gone for the holidays?
Keeping your USF apartment safe during the holidays is an important topic. Many people travel during this time of year, and a good portion of travelers are college students. If you live in a student-targeted complex, you may want to use extra precaution when leaving your apartment for an extended period of time.
Obviously, your first line of defense is to ensure that all your doors and windows are left securely locked while you are gone. Check you balcony door and bar it, if you have that option. Close any blinds or curtains you have – if you normally keep them closed. This keeps people from knowing that you aren't there, as well as keeping your heating costs lower. However, if you normally open certain blinds, you may want to leave them open. Try to make your home appear as normal as possible. If you have roommates, make sure that whoever will be the last one to leave is a person that can be counted on to do this.
If you are really set on keeping your USF apartment safe while you are gone, you may want to invest in a timer for your lights or television. You can program them to come on at certain times, giving the illusion that someone is home. These can cost under $10 if you shop around – most run about $15-$25. Make sure that all of your appliances are turned off, as well as any faucets. If your apartment near USF did not come with an alarm system, you may want to ask your landlord if you are allowed to install one. These are great deterrents to any potential burglars, especially if you advertise that you have one. Most systems come with some sort of sign or sticker for you to display.
If you have any neighbors you trust, let them know that you will be gone so that they can keep an eye on your place. They can grab any ads that might be hung on your door, which, if left, would be a good clue that you are away. Depending on how long you will be gone, you can have the post office hold your mail. Don't advertise to the would that you are away by having packages sit in front of your door for days.
On that note, you should also be careful of what you post online. Letting the world know that you are going to be gone for weeks is not a good idea. Instead, tell people individually that need to know. When you return, you can post all your pictures, letting everyone know what you've been up to lately.