Keep your home free of clutter, trash piles, and other accumulated items. Use space heaters, particularly kerosene heaters with caution. Barbecuing on porches, roofs, or indoors is unsafe and is a City fire code violation with a maximum fine of $600.00.
Make sure your electrical system is in good order. Check all appliances for frayed spots. Do not overload your circuits. If your fuses or circuit breakers are continually shutting off power, the system is overloaded. Do not put too many plugs into one outlet; this may cause a fire.
There should be two means of exit from each living unit. Know the location of all the fire extinguishers and fire alarms in the building. Ask your landlord to provide a smoke alarm or purchase one yourself. If you feel that your home is not reasonably safe from fire, advise your landlord, Fire Department, or City Building Inspector.
Ask the landlord to install new locks when moving into a house or apartment. If the landlord is not willing to change the locks to your satisfaction, ask if you can make the change at your expense and provide him/her with a key in case of an emergency. Do not leave extra keys where they can be easily found.
Use deadbolt locks (especially those with a key) or sliding barrel locks on all doors to the outside. For your garage, cellar, or other utility doors, use crossbars and hasp locks. Do not use cheap locks or spring-snap locks; they are easily opened. Make sure all windows, including cellar windows, are locked.
Mark your valuables with a driver’s license number or other identifiable mark. The Bethlehem Police Department will lend you an engraver. University Police also have engravers that you can borrow. This will aid in the recovery of stolen valuables and help the police trace items. If you cannot engrave an item, write down its description and serial number. If you cannot prove ownership of a stolen item, the police will not release it to you.
A well lit house and garage is an excellent burglar deterrent. At night, leave a couple of lights on inside the house. When you are away, do not leave any notes saying when you will return.
One of your most important ways of protecting your home is to know your neighbors. Make them fully aware of your living habits such as who comes and goes and when. If you notice a stranger doing something out of the ordinary, call the police immediately.
Preparing for Extended Vacations
When leaving for an extended time, consider some basic precautions:
· Register your vacation with the City of Bethlehem Police. They will watch your home while you are gone. This is especially true during Semester and Spring Break. Lehigh's schedule is no secret!
· Cancel daily deliveries of mail and newspapers or arrange for someone to pick them up.
· Keep a couple of lights on in the house or install an automatic timer to turn them on.
· Close your curtains partially.
· Ask a neighbor and the police to watch your home.
· Arrange to have grass mowed or snow shoveled.
Utilize the Campus Escort Service
The Escort Service provides alternatives to walking alone after dark. The service is designed for students, but is open to the University community. It combines the use of walking escorts and TRACS (Take a Ride Around Campus Safely) van service through the combined efforts of students, University Police and Transportation Services. Walking escorts are requested by dialing (610) 758-1111.
The service operates between dusk and dawn throughout the school year. It provides either a walking or driving escort depending upon the time and availability of student volunteers to serve as escorts. During vacation periods when the Escort Service is not in operation, the University Police will assist students. Students are expected to show their ID cards before the escort is provided.
TRACS service provides transportation to and from University buildings and neighborhoods adjacent to campus. Escorts are primarily for those individuals who find themselves alone after dark and in need of someone to accompany them to their destination. The service is intended to supplement, not replace, individual responsibility. Students are encouraged to plan ahead and make arrangements to walk with friends after dark.
TRACS schedules are available at http://www.lehigh.edu/tracs