Off-Campus Safety

Living off-campus means living in a new community which means navigating the responsibility for one's own safety and well-being. It is important to keep in mind that those who live outside of the beautiful campus of Washington and Lee University may not hold the same values and commitment to honor. This section is intended to provide resources and tips for navigating safety and well-being while living off-campus.

Safety Tips

  • Report all crime and any suspicious activity to the Lexington Police Department or Rockbridge Country Sheriff's Office.
  • Keep your doors locked at all times, especially when you are alone, sleeping or if the living unit is unoccupied (even if only for a few moments).
  • Determine who is on the other side of the door before opening it. Have repair or service personnel show official identification and confirm their presence with the person requesting the service. Delivery persons should remain outside to await the person requesting the delivery.
  • Be sure you have blinds or curtains on your windows to discourage window peepers. Always keep your windows covered at night.
  • Be sure all outdoor lighting fixtures are in working condition.
  • Place items of value out of sight and in locked areas. Do not leave valuables unattended in such common areas as laundry rooms and lounges.
  • Make a list of your valuables such as gaming consoles, stereos, computer, and jewelry. Take photos of the items, list their serial numbers and descriptions. Check with law enforcement about engraving your valuables.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, but if you must, stay in well-lit, open areas.
  • Properly lock and store any weapons per best practices. Please be aware that some landlords may prohibit certain weapons.
  • Lock your vehicle when not in use and keep any valuables inside out of site.
  • Obtain renter's insurance. It's affordable, covers any personal property loss, covers liability, assists you when you may be in need due to issues with your rental unit or in an emergency, and your landlord may require it.

Fire Prevention

  • Be sure smoke detectors are in proper working condition. Install new batteries at the beginning of each semester.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets. If you need to plug multiple appliances into an outlet, use a fused power strip.
  • Avoid running extension cords under the carpet or through doorways.
  • Put out candles and incense when unattended.
  • Extinguish all smoking materials thoroughly.
  • Clean up immediately after parties and take all trash outside.
  • Don't leave food unattended on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Plan your escape routes in case fire does strike.
  • Make sure all exit doors are unlocked and not obstructed.
  • Know two ways out of your apartment/house.
  • Clean the dryer lint filter after every use.
  • It is a good idea to consider purchasing a 2A 10BC fire extinguisher for your home.
  • For chimneys: Make sure you have a screen or gate in front of the hearth to prevent sparks from flying out on to the floor. Don't stack wood or kindling in front of an open hearth. Extinguish the fire completely before leaving or going to sleep. Don't have low-burning or smoldering fires. Make sure your landlord inspects your chimney every year.