The safety of living off campus

The 1950s tune came from the doorbell, an outdated ring to match a house that resembled the same time period. Immediately jumping up, she and another roommate ran from their rooms and met at the front door. Confused, they both waited for the bell to be pushed yet again, hoping that was all that would happen. Shaking and clutching her arms over her chest, Nicole said she had never been more scared. Reaching for the door handle, she jumped back as it suddenly started shaking with force on the other end. Both girls ran screaming to the nearest bedroom and called the police as the pounding of fists on their door got louder and louder. Their first Thursday back at school in their new house on a remote side of Beechwood changed just how safe they felt living off-campus.

According to Ball State’s section on the U.S. News and World Report, 59 percent of students live in off-campus housing. Many students enjoy the freedom of not living in the dorms. But when it’s 3 a.m. and there is someone banging on your door at your house on a secluded part of Beechwood, a resident assistant down the hall doesn’t sound so bad.

Packing her backpack before heading out for the day, Alex Tate, a junior special education major and Nicole’s roommate, found out that this attempted break-in was something she slept through the previous night. Whether or not the unwelcomed guest was an attempted burglary is unknown, but an incident like this is surprisingly less likely to happen off campus than it is on campus. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime’s website, of the burglaries to be reported for colleges in the Clery Act in 2010, 95 percent were on campus and only 5 percent off campus. However, according to that same report, 41 percent of robberies were on campus, while 59 percent were off. University Police Department’s Chief James Duckham said even this winter there were five burglaries off-campus, but this is a decrease from the previous year’s winter break.

This issue was not the first to create an unsafe feeling for Alex, Nicole, and their other roommates. “We’ve had so many problems with this house. Having someone try to break in was just one,” Alex said. She moved off-campus because she thought it would be cheaper, saying she did the research and found she would be saving about $4,000 to rent her 5 bedroom house from a rental company.

The house’s largest issue? Mold. Alex said that some of their bedrooms had mold growing in them, their closets having the worst of the fungus. Their landlord at the time, who has now been let go by BSU Cribs, told them to clean it out to the best of their ability.

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