How to Secure Off-Campus Housing

When your kids want to break free from all those dorm rules and supervision and move into off-campus housing, how will you prevent their things from getting stolen? Are you going to trust their roommates to keep windows and doors locked?

Chris Heider - a handy father, whose son Tom is starting his junior year at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. I graduated from Rutgers, as did his oldest daughter.After two years of dorm life, where Rutgers provided excellent security through key cards, lobby receptionists, resident advisors, and campus police, Tom recently moved into an off-campus rental house with five other guys.

Chris is less worried about their personal safety than he is worried about theft of their personal property. Off-campus houses in New Brunswick are old. They are lucky if the windows keep out the cold in the winter, let alone burglars!

The first line of defense is a locked door. No-brainer, right? Wrong. Would you believe 30% of break-ins occur through unlocked doors or windows? Since Tom’s room is on the second floor facing the street, Chris is not worried about the windows. So he is focused on the door.

If an intruder finds Tom’s door locked, Chris’s hoping he’ll keep moving to a different room. But how could he guarantee the door will be locked?

Chris’s solution was to install a smart handset that is always locked from the outside. Sure, you can do that with many entry locks, but they require a key to open them.

Ultraloq UL3 BT smart lock allows Tom and his roommate to quickly open the door using a fingerprint, numeric code, or a Bluetooth phone. It replaced a standard handset, which will be reinstalled when he moves out.

There are two types of accounts: admin and users. The admin maintains the settings, adds and deletes users, and can view the log. Users simply have privileges to unlock the door.

All accounts can have a numeric code to unlock the door. If they think someone is watching them at the keypad, they can enter random digits before or after their code, and the door will still open.

Fingerprint is by far the easiest way to use this lock. If they come home so drunk they can’t see straight, they’ll still have fingers to unlock the door!

Ultraloq comes with a physical key that inserts under the handset if the batteries or electronics fail for any reason.

Hope Chris’s experience is helpful to get you thinking about how to secure off-campus housing for your son or daughter.