Unwanted guests roam the streets scot-free, no matter how “safe” a community seems to appear. Although a space you rented is technically yours, you’re still vulnerable to the dangers brought upon by being in a public sphere. You can never tell someone’s intention, much more than that of a stranger. And unless you’re a watchful and observant roomie, the outside world is a hostile one.

Keeping yourself, and your community secure, is vital to maintaining a pleasant and worthwhile coliving experience. Reduce the risks and vulnerabilities by adhering to these preventive measures.

1. “Spidey-sense tingling”

Does your gut feeling tell you something is skeptical about the coliving space? A room to stay at should make you feel like you belong there in the first place; so if doubts outweigh the reasons to avail of the room, you definitely have to re-evaluate your choices. It would also be alarming if a property owner constantly avoids questions about the property security, or insists on not having any issues with crimes.

2. Check this out!

Before moving in, inspect the coliving space like a professional NBI officer. Ideally, your checklist of things to confirm should include the lighting, entryways, emergency exits, neighbors, perimeter fence, local crime rates, and a non-invasive background check of your property owner and roomies. You may either gauge these objectively, or directly ask the concerned people.

3. Cover up.

Rule of thumb in protecting yourself: never, ever, ever publicize your sensitive information, such as your current location, most especially if you’re home alone. Never give away the layout of your room to flex it online, unless you trust your social media audience. If your dorm room has huge glass windows that are visible from the outside, it’s best that you invest in an opaque curtain to cover yourself up. Who knows, someone has already targeted you as a victim of stalking or planned theft.

4. Keep your eyes open.

If years of taking science classes have taught you anything, it’s that observing your surroundings is a valuable skill. Take the time to explore the area, and if you notice something odd, report to your property owner and designated authorities, as long as it is grounded by evidence. If there aren’t any, you might want to request an installation of CCTV cameras. Lastly, should you need to commute or walk after dark, keep yourself accompanied by a fellow roomie.

Property owners, along with the utility personnel are responsible for ensuring that roomies feel at ease in their coliving space. The staff at the front lobby, the guards who roam around the property vicinity to do their rounds, the sanitary officers who maintain the cleanliness of the area — they are also the first people to contact in dire times of emergency (keep a physical and digital list of emergency numbers)!

Sticking to these preventive measures can look like a lot of tedious, repetitive, boring work, but do yourself a favor. You owe yourself and your fellow roomies the privilege of having a peace of mind, as well as a much-needed restful sleep.