One of the benefits of an urban campus is being surrounded by unique city neighborhoods to explore. Many Pitt students choose to make these neighborhoods their homes while in school. 

If you’re considering moving off-campus, it’s imperative to do your research. You should consider safety and security factors of both the apartments you look at and the neighborhood itself.

  • Walk or drive around the neighborhood to get a feel for the area.
  • Use your network. Ask friends, coworkers, or Pitt staff about certain areas and their experiences with off-campus living.
  • Ask the landlord. Refer to this renter’s checklist for ideas on what to ask regarding safety, security and other topics.
  • Contact local police to obtain a crime report.

Pitt has an entire office dedicated to helping students navigate off-campus life. Check out their website for more resources and contact information.

Getting to and from campus

When walking isn’t an option and driving feels like a hassle, here are some alternatives to get you to Oakland from your off-campus home.

Pitt buses and shuttles

Catch a ride on a Pitt bus or shuttle for free with your campus ID. Visit here for a list of stops, times, and routes.


If you’re out late at night or early in the morning, SafeRider is your best option. SafeRider provides Pitt students, faculty, and staff with transportation when special, non-emergency needs arise. SafeRider only operates within certain areas, so be sure to consult this boundary map before you plan your ride.

Each rider is permitted one round trip per night and a maximum of 20 trips per semester.

Port Authority buses

You are able to ride any Port Authority Transit bus fare-free with your Pitt ID. Buses run through Oakland on both Forbes and Fifth Avenues. Visit here for more information on stops, times, and routes.


If you use a bike to get around, be sure to familiarize yourself with Pennsylvania bike laws.

  • No riding on sidewalks in business districts (i.e. Oakland).
  • No riding in dedicated bus lanes.
  • A front headlight and rear reflector are required if riding between sunset and sunrise. A rear blinky increases visibility.
  • Always yield to pedestrians.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs.

A bicycle rack is the safest place to park your bike on campus. Racks are available at nearly every University building. Use a good quality U-lock to secure your bike.

Don’t own a bike? No problem. Pittsburgh now has its own public bike sharing system. There are plenty of Healthy Ride kiosks in Oakland and other city neighborhoods with bikes available to rent. You can even rent in advance via mobile app, on-board computer or by calling customer service. You can learn more and register yourself by visiting their website.

Safety Reminders 

  • Keep your outside doors locked (even when you are home).
  • Don’t advertise your class or work schedule.
  • Never leave a note on the door saying when you will return.
  • Lock your windows.
  • If the property owner won’t replace cheap locks, ask if you can do so at your expense.
  • Leave some lights on when you are gone.
  • Do not trust chain locks alone — they are not strong enough to keep out a determined intruder.
  • Be sure all valuables are permanently marked with your name and record all serial numbers.
  • Look outside before opening the door. If you can’t see the area in front of the door, install a magnifying peephole (all you need is a drill and screwdriver).
  • Never let strangers in the door. If it is a repair or service representative, call the property owner or company to ensure they are supposed to be there. Always insist on identification (a PA driver’s license is the best I.D.).
  • Do not allow a stranger to spend a night in your apartment no matter how sad the story.
  • Always have your key in your hand as you approach the entryway.
  • Never leave valuables such as TV’s, stereos, jewelry, purses, etc., where they can be seen from a window.
  • Get to know your neighbors. If you look out for them, they’ll look out for you.
  • Consider renter’s insurance.

Sign up to receive texted crime alerts at: 
If a problem occurs, notify the police immediately. Keep the City and Pitt Police Department phone numbers readily available on your phone: 911 and 412-624-2121