Your lease is signed and you’ve already moved in…now what? This section provides you with information to keep think about now that you’re settled in including: having friends over, getting around town and to campus, what to do if a storm is coming, safety tips, and overall things to do at JMU and in Harrisonburg.

Having Friends Over?

When entertaining guests at your apartment, there are more things to think about than just who to invite!

First off, most apartment complexes have limited guest parking.  Suggest alternative means of transportation: carpooling, call a taxi, ride the bus, etc.

Always talk to your roommates first.  Before you invite people over, make sure to clear it with all of your roommates so that they do not come home to a house full of people.

Register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540.434.4436.  Instead of sending an officer out for the first noise complaint, HPD will call the host to correct the problem.

Be aware of how much noise you are making.  Loud music and lots of people will draw bigger crowds and can upset the neighbors.  Keep your doors closed and try not to turn the bass amp up too loudly.

Limit the amount of people you invite.  Avoid inviting people publicly on Facebook and other social media sites.  Know everybody that is coming into your apartment.  There are occupancy limits for a reason!

Have a sober host in your apartment at all times.  If there are unwanted people that will not leave, call the police.

Remember, it is your apartment.  Only you can make sure that you follow the right steps to keep your apartment a safe and fun environment!

Need a Ride? Jump on a Bus!

Harrisonburg offers a great service to JMU students: Free Bus Rides!  Many off-campus living areas are on bus routes that can get you almost anywhere in Harrisonburg. Check out the HDPT website for schedules, information, and more.  Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation Need an app about bus routes for your smart phone?  There are a few options: one was created by a former JMU student!

 

Want to Eat on Campus?

Don’t know how to cook?  Don’t want to cook?  Miss JMU food?  Don’t worry!  Check out these Commuter Meal Plans.

How to Prepare for a Storm

Storm Prep

A great resource for preparing yourself is the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website.  Their website provides information regarding several different types of disasters and how to prepare and react to each.  Listed below is a list of basic supplies that could be included in an emergency kit (All information came from FEMA's website).
  • Food
  • Water
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Tools
 

Things to do, and places to eat

Looking to leave your apartment or house and explore Harrisonburg for a while?  There is a lot to do, and many good restaurants around town!
Downtown Harrisonburg has a lot of different restaurants and entertainment.  Check out the "Do Downtown" Website for more information.
Interested in what different events are coming up?  Go to the Harrisonburg Event Calendar and check out future events.
Need a list of possible Restaurants to go to?  Try using this Google Map and see what your options are.
Trying to find a grocery store nearby?  Here is a link to all of the grocery stores in Harrisonburg.
Want to see a movie or a play?  Try Regal Cinemas on University Boulevard or Court Square Theatre located downtown.
Looking for on campus entertainment?  Check out UPB's website for events and cheap movies in Grafton-Stovall Theatre.

Safety

Whether you are looking for an apartment, signing a lease, already moved in, or on your way out safety is a major concern!  Below is a list of tips on how to make your apartment a safe environment so that you can enjoy your time living Off Campus to its fullest!  

JMU’s EFFORTS TO KEEP YOU SAFE:

  • JMU has created a Safety Task Force to analyze possible solutions and changes to be made to keep the community safe.
  • Public Safety has 4 officers assigned to off campus patrols, not including the 25 officers assigned to on campus patrol.
  • Safety escorts are available to any student on campus, free of charge.  Escorts are provided by carefully screened and trained student employees known as the Campus Police Cadets. Cadets are on duty 7pm - 2am Sunday-Wednesday, 9pm-2am Thursday, and 9pm-3am Friday and Saturday.  Police officers will provide any escorts outside of those time periods.
  • JMU SafeRides is a student run, non-profit organization whose mission is to create a safer community for the city of Harrisonburg. Members work to prevent drunk driving by educating JMU students, fundraising to help support our mission, and providing free rides home for JMU students. If you are a JMU student and need a ride home over the weekend, please feel free to call us at 540.JMU.RIDE (540.568.7433)! No matter where you are in Harrisonburg, we are here for you!
  • Public Safety offers educational crime prevention opportunities throughout the year.
  • Timely Notifications are issued by the James Madison University Police, giving notice of acts that could pose as a Possible Threat, that reportedly occurred on or near the campus of James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Until the investigation of the specific act has been concluded, it can be assumed that conditions continue to exist that may pose a threat to members and guests of the community. It is the duty of the institution to warn of possible "dangerous conditions" on its property; an "affirmative duty" exists to warn of possible peril at the hands of some third party.
 

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

Secure your property

  • Utilize door locks whenever possible.  If you have lost a key, please contact your property manager to receive a replacement.
  • Close and lock all windows and sliding glass doors.  Place wooden dowel in sliding glass door track.  (You can purchase wooden dowels at a local hardware store.)
  • Utilize blinds and shades, especially at night.
  • Place all valuables out of site when parking your vehicle. Secure them in the trunk and lock your doors.  Try to leave vehicle parked under a light.
  • Call the police, if uninvited guests won’t leave.
 

Host a safe party

  • Report suspicious people or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
  • Register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540.434.4436.  Instead of sending an officer out for the first noise complaint, HPD will call the host to correct the problem.
  • Have a guest list – know who is in your home.
  • Call the police, if uninvited guests won’t leave.
  • Have a sober host on the premises at all times.
  • Keep it small. Be aware occupancy limits. Beware of overcrowding wooden decks.
  • Lock doors to private areas (i.e. bedrooms) and secure or hide valuables.
  • Limit the alcohol consumption of guests.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food.
 

When attending a party

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, leave the area.
  • Report suspicious people or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
  • Stay with friends. Look out for each other.
  • Know the hosts of the party you are attending.
  • Drink responsibly.  Do not drink to excess.
  • Secure a safe way to get home, such as a bus, taxi or JMU SafeRides (540.568.7433).
  • Carry only the ID and money you’ll need for the night.
  • Be considerate of others and respectful of property.
 

Traveling by foot

  • Use well lit and well-traveled areas: Avoid dark and deserted areas, such as railroad tracks, or shortcuts.
  • Do not walk or jog alone.
  • Utilize the sidewalk at all times.  If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the roadway, always walk facing traffic.
  • Do not approach an unknown car if it follows your, or the driver beckons you while you are walking. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
  • Do not resist or attempt to fool a robber.

Other tips

  • Do not make it easy for thieves. They are on the lookout for items left unattended. It takes only seconds to grab your property and get away.
  • Use common sense.  Trust your instincts and listen to that gut feeling.
  • Report all crimes: When reporting a crime or suspicious activity, give the dispatcher all the information you have. If the crime is occurring during your call, stay on the line until the officer arrives.
 

Report Suspicious Activity Immediately

  • Look out for your neighbors and call the local police immediately if you observe suspicious activity.

JMU Police 540.568.6913

Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Police (Emergency Communications Center)   540.434.4436

Call 911 for EMERGENCIES!

  For additional public safety information visit JMU Public Safety's Website. To see a comprehensive list of JMU Timely Notifications visit Public Safety's Incident Listing page. To see reports on criminal activity throughout Harrisonburg visit the Crime Reports website. Follow us on Facebook at JMU Off Campus Life for more tips.

Guide to Living Downtown

If you live in a property downtown there are city ordinances that apply to you and your housemates. We encourage you to print off our Guide to Living Downtown and place it on the back of your front door. Please note that that your trash day may differ from the indicated day on this sheet, check with your landlord to find out which day your trash should go out.

Trash Day

• All trash should be in containers • If bags or containers fail during handling the property owner or occupant will assume clean up. The trash can should have outside handles. • Residential $25.00/month fee

Recycling

• Plastic: • Any container with a recycling symbol with a 1 or 2 on the bottom. • Procedure: Remove lids and labels then place in recycling bin. • Glass: • Procedure: Remove lids and rinse the bottle • Aluminum: • Procedure: Rinse, flatten and drop in the bin. • Steel/Tin: • Procedure: Remove labels, lids and rinse • Household Batteries: • Procedure: Place in clear plastic bag and put in the recycling bin • Newspaper/Miscellaneous Paper: • Procedure: Store in a separate recycling bin such as a cardboard box. Keep dry. Do not tie together or place in any kind of bag. • Unacceptable Materials Include: • Any unmarked plastic, Styrofoam, and any plastic marked #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7 • Plastic Bags • Cardboard (waxed, corrugated boxes, pizza boxes, etc.)

Yard Debris/Bulk Collection Day

  • Pick up is on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month
Accepted bulk items include:
  • Furniture, appliances, or large items not taken on you normal trash day.
  • Latex paint must be completely dried out. (Note: Oil-based paints are not accepted for Yard Debris and Bulk Collection, but can be brought to Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days for proper disposal.)
Instructions for Yard Debris:
  • Yard debris/leaves must be in biodegradable bags, loose in a dump-able container, or bundled and tied with string.
  • Please call 540-434-5928 if you have any questions.
 

Maximum Sound Levels

Nighttime. No person shall permit, operate or cause any source of sound to create a sound level in excess of fifty-five (55) dBA when measured at or outside the property boundary between the hours 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Daytime. No person shall permit, operate or cause any source of sound to create a sound level in excess of sixty-five (65) dBA when measured at or outside the property boundary between the hours 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Punishment. Where no conviction under this section has occurred within the preceding three (3) years of the date of the offense, the defendant shall be convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor and sentenced according to state law in the discretion of the court, however, the city counsel recommends the sentence include fifty (50) hours community service. For each subsequent conviction of a violation of this section within three (3) years, the defendant shall be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor and sentenced according to state law in the discretion of the court, however, the city council recommends the sentence to include on hundred (100) hours of community service.

Register your Party

Be smart and register your party with the Harrisonburg Police Department – 540-434-4436 – Why?
  • HPD will call you at the first noise complaint instead of sending an officer
  •  Have a guest list – know who is in your home.
  • If uninvited guests won’t leave, call the police.
  • Have a sober host on the premises at all times.
  • Keep it small. Be aware of occupancy limits. Beware of overcrowding wooden decks.
  • Limit the alcohol consumption of guests.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages and food.
  • Lock doors to private areas (i.e. bedrooms) and secure valuables.
  • Report suspicious persons or activity immediately to the police. Be a witness, don’t be a hero.
  • Be considerate of others and respectful of property
 

Snow and Ice

The City asks residents to keep in mind the following guidelines for driving and parking in winter conditions:
  • Avoid parking on the street. Snowplows can't fully clear the street with cars in the way.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel when crews are clearing snow and ice from the roadways.
  • Do not attempt to pass snowplows and stay at least 100 feet behind them.
  • Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles.
  • Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.
  • When driving on ice, turn slowly, and do not slam on your brakes. Sudden changes can cause your car to spin out of control.
The City also reminds residents that according to Section 6-1-15 of the Code of the City of Harrisonburg, residents must clear snow from sidewalks in front or on the side of their home within three hours after precipitation stops falling, or by 10:00am the following morning for overnight storms. Citizens should shovel snow to the right side of their driveways (looking toward the street). This way, snowplows will not push already-shoveled snow back into your driveway.

Accumulation of Junk

The city reminds residents in Section 6-2-6 of the Code of the City of Harrisonburg about the accumulation of junk, rubbish or garbage on premises in open view. According to the ordinance, it is unlawful for any person to place or leave on any property in the city any indoor furniture, dilapidated furniture, appliance, machinery, equipment, building material, or other item(s) which are either in a wholly or partially rusted, wrecked, junked, dismantled or inoperative condition and which is not completely enclosed within a building or dwelling. Any such item which remains on the property of any occupant for a period of ten (10) days after notice of violation of this section shall be presumed to be abandoned and subject to being removed from the property by the city without further notice with the cost of such removal being charged back to the owner of the premises.
  • Remember, what you leave on your property can reflect poorly on the area or neighborhood. Keep your front porch/backyard clear of any debris or furniture.
 

Follow these guidelines and be considerate of your neighbors and surrounding Harrisonburg Community!