Worth It: Safety & Security Discussions You Should Have With Your Roommates

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

I come from a very long line of “better safe than sorry” people. While some might consider my idea of home safety on the paranoid side, my dad thinks I play it fast and loose with potential robbers. Regardless of your own personal ideas of home security, along with rent and bill splitting, security and safety should be things you have a discussion with any person you live with. Here are some discussion points to consider.

Inspired by a recent Ask Alice question, this post isn’t meant to incite paranoia (by many available studies, we’re living in one of the safest times ever), but these are important discussions you should have with people you live with (or even just yourself). Preferences will vary between people, but it’s good to have an understanding of these issues with anyone you share a space with.

When is it okay to leave windows unlocked/open?

Only when you’re home? Only when you’re in the room? Never?

Is it ever okay to leave the door open for breezes?

Again, only when you’re home? Never?

Should the doors be locked all the time, even when you’re at home?

Some people get in the habit of locking the door as soon as they walk through it. Others don’t mind it being unlocked if they’re awake and in the home.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Should the blinds/curtains be closed when you leave the home?

My dad always used to swear by the idea that if a potential robber can’t see your stuff, they might not want to break in. I have no idea how effective this is, but I like to close my curtains when I know I’ll be gone for awhile.

Should valuables be left out in view?

I like to lock my laptop up while I’m gone for a long time; it might do nothing to deter a potential home robber, but it makes me feel better.

Are there home security products you want to use?

I’ve never personally invested in a home security system, but I know people who prefer having one in the house.

How well do you need to know strangers who stay over?

Most house guests will be good friends or family, but you might have an amorous roommate or one looking for extra dough and hoping to rent their room out on Airbnb. It’s good to talk through comfort levels.

How many extra keys should exist? Where should they be located? Who gets them?

Some folks still like leaving an extra key under the door mat in case they get locked out of the house. The idea of that makes me shudder! But a trusted friend in town does have a set just in case I need help getting in (or my cat needs watching).

What would you add to this list?