Safety and Crime

Safety is a big concern when you’re in a new place. You might see a lot of news about crime in the U.S. Usually, the news makes it look worse than it really is. No city is perfect, but there are many ways to stay safe.

Only a very small number of people in the U.S. act badly toward others. The movies and news provide endless images of crime because it attracts more viewers, not because it happens often.

People here are happy to help you with any kind of trouble. When you practice common sense, crime is avoidable. But, always be prepared and put safety first.

Area Police

There are many people who work to protect you. This includes police and other safety professionals. Every U.S. city and town has a police department, no matter how small.

If you need the police for an emergency, you can always call 911 from any phone. Dialing 911 will connect you to specially trained operators who can help the police get to you.

Remember, only dial 911 for emergencies. Call 911 if you or someone else’s safety is in serious jeopardy. 911 emergencies might include:

      • Accidents
      • An intruder in your home
      • Crimes in progress
      • Immediate need for medical attention
      • Fires

911 operators are trained to handle your phone call, but you might have to provide them with some information:

      • What is the emergency?
      • Where is the emergency happening?
      • What is the phone number you’re calling from?

Most police departments have a phone number you can call for non-emergencies. Keep this number with you, in your wallet or saved in your mobile phone. Non-emergencies include things like:

      • Theft – if something has been stolen
      • Noise complaints – If it is late at night and neighbors are being too loud
      • Receiving threats – if someone’s actions and threats are making you feel unsafe

Public/campus safety

Your college or university might also have its own police force. They will also have a phone number. Keep this phone number in your wallet or your mobile phone.

Usually, campus police can handle emergencies and non-emergencies. For problems on campus, it might be best to call them since they are nearby.

Many campuses have emergency phone boxes that will immediately alert campus police. These boxes are designed so that the police know where the emergency call is coming from. When you get to campus, find out where these phone boxes are. Though you probably will not need to use them, it is best to be prepared.

There are many ways to prevent emergencies. One way is to avoid walking around campus alone at night. Most campus police will provide escorts for students at night. They can either give you a ride to your dorm (or other campus destinations) or drive next to you as you walk. When you arrive on campus, find out if your school’s campus police have these services.

The same rule applies off-campus. Avoid walking around anywhere alone at night. If you are away from home and cannot get home with your own car or public transportation, call a taxi.

Here are some other tips to help prevent crime:

  • Lock your doors and windows – in your car and at home.
  • Do not provide keys or private information (like your address) to strangers.
  • Do not accept rides from strangers.
  • If you absolutely must walk alone at night, stay alert. Avoid distractions like:
    • Reading and sending text messages
    • Listening to music on headphones
    • Speaking on the phone

Remember: Only a very small number of people in the U.S. act badly toward others. The movies and news provide endless images of crime because it attracts more viewers, not because it happens often.

People here are happy to help you with any kind of trouble. When you practice common sense, crime is avoidable. But, always be prepared and put safety first.