Home and Personal Safety
Student safety and well-being is something we care very much about at Western Washington University. When you move off campus, you may face new or different safety concerns, but your access to campus and community resources remains the same. We have compiled some tips so that you can keep your stuff safe, keep yourself safe, and know where to go in case you do need help.
It is important that your house or apartment is structurally sound and safe to live in. Before you move in, it is extremely helpful to ask questions like:
- Are there any structural deficiencies or excessive mold? Is there anything that seems like it has the potential to be unsafe or unhealthy?
- Are all of the advertised appliances present and working?
- Is there a window in every bedroom that can open for escape in case of fire, and is there a working smoke detector in every room?
- Do the locks work properly on the windows and doors?
Though these questions are very helpful before you move in, it is not uncommon for problems to crop up after you have signed the lease. Some things can be harder to check during the initial walk-through or might not be a problem until the weather changes. The following resources can help you ensure the safety of your home:
- For fire safety information and a home inspection checklist, visit Western's Environmental Health and Safety Department website.
- Check out the City of Bellingham's collection of safety videos and home safety resources.
- You can also check out Fire Science Online: Fire Safety & Education for College Students.
If you need information about rental repairs, or need help with problematic rental conditions, check out our Rental Conditions and Repairs page.
Western's Department of Safety and University Police have compiled some really helpful tips regarding home safety. Find this information and more on their website. For further information on staying safe contact Bellingham Police Crime Prevention Officers at 360.676.6924, or University Police Sergeant David Garcia at 360.650.4141.
Stalking and/or Harassment
If you are experiencing stalking/harassment off-campus, it is important to note that Western still offers resources to you for support and may be able to offer you some ways to feel protected while on campus. If you are a student who lives off-campus and experiences stalking or harassment, you may want to consider the safety tips below (adapted from The National Center for Victims of Crime: Stalking Resource Center):
- Treat all threats (including efforts to contact you via text, over social media, or through email) as serious and inform law enforcement immediately.
- Document any efforts to contact you and save text messages or emails. If you need to file for an order of protection, this documentation can be very helpful.
- Always keep the door to your apartment or house locked, even if your roommate is on their way home or you have a friend on their way over.
- Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, pay attention to this feeling and act on it.
- Inform neighbors and, if residing in an apartment, any on-site managers about the situation.
- Provide them a description of the person and any vehicles they may drive if known. Ask them if they would feel comfortable calling the police, if needed.
- Keep your phone nearby at all times.
- Vary routines, including changing routes to work, school, the grocery store, and other places regularly frequented.
- Consider obtaining a protective order against the person stalking or harassing you.
- Western's CASAS is a confidential resource that can assist you in knowing more about your options through Western and throughout Whatcom County.
- Western's Office of Student Life may be able to offer protection while you are on campus, if the person stalking or harassing you is a student.
- Western's Equal Opportunity Office is another source of advice and assistance available to students.