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Before signing a lease, it’s important to evaluate the safety of where you’d like to live. Like most cities, Durham is not immune from crime. Take the time to understand your neighborhood and learn ways to keep yourself safe.

Safety Resources

  • Community Crime Map: Search crime statistics in your area by entering your potential address into the map. Duke Police Department recommends focusing on crimes like larceny and burglary.
  • LiveSafe:Be sure to download Duke's safety app, LifeSafe.
  • DukeALERT: Make sure you're signed up for Duke's emergency notification system, DukeALERT.

Questions to ask apartment staff:

  • Are staff present on-site? What hours?
  • Is there secure access to buildings via a key, fob, or code? Is there a gate surrounding the complex?
  • Are there cameras on the outside of the building, in corridors, at entrances/exits?
  • Is there on-site security?
  • Is the complex well-lit in parking areas, corridors, and on sidewalks?

Call 911 in an emergency

If you are on campus, Duke University Police Department (DUPD) will respond to your call. 

  • DUPD's non-emergency number: 919-684-2444

If you are off campus, Durham Police Department will respond to your call. 

  • Durham Police's non-emergency number: 919-560-4600

Safety tips

Duke is actively working on safety initiatives with our partners in the city of Durham.

Here are some steps Duke has taken in the last 2 years to address the safety of our off-campus students:

In May 2022, Duke developed and hired a new position: Assistant Dean and Director of Off Campus & Community Housing, Elinor Landess. Since starting, Landess has engaged multiple landlords across Durham, and is in regular communication to proactively address safety and security issues. Dean Landess also advises Duke graduate and professional students and schools in navigating off campus housing options. Additionally, she is overseeing the new Off-Campus Student Advisory Committee. Interested graduate and professional students who would like to serve on this committee may contact

In spring 2022, Duke Parking and Transportation Services extended services on weeknights, and Duke Van service was expanded with an additional driver. During summer 2022, Duke Parking & Transportation created a Weekend Circulator in the LaSalle/Erwin area to provide transportation to campus during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. Duke Vans will continue to provide after-hours services Monday through Saturday to off-campus locations within a 2.5 mile radius of campus and to Lancaster Commons.

Duke staff are meeting regularly with off campus communities in Durham. Duke is partnering with apartment complexes in the LaSalle/Erwin area and the Durham and Duke Police departments to proactively address safety and security concerns and provide educational safety sessions for residents. Apartment complexes have enhanced security features such as maintaining vegetation to increase visibility, installing higher fencing around complexes, making exterior lighting upgrades, and increasing the presence of security patrols on their properties.

Duke is offering incoming graduate and professional students a virtual housing orientation session each summer to share information on the housing search and the transition to Duke and Durham.

In the summer of 2022, Duke began leasing an off-campus apartment complex that has been reserved for Duke graduate and professional students, known as Lancaster Commons. This new housing option will provide housing for over 380 students and includes a new dedicated bus route to provide transportation to and from campus.