The University of Minnesota -Twin Cities takes several measures to ensure that campus and the surrounding neighborhoods are safe for its students. Parking facilities, skyways, and tunnels are monitored 24 hours a day with the aid of security cameras and security monitors. Alarm buttons and emergency phones are located around campus. Staying safe, however, is everyone’s responsibility.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is also considered a safe place to live, but every neighborhood has different crime rates and different risks associated with it. To learn more about safety in a specific neighborhood and to get statistics related to safety in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis and St. Paul),you can visit the Police Department section of the City of Minneapolis website.
You can also contact your local Police Department.
Another valuable resource is your neighborhood’s Community Association. Each neighborhood has a Community Association and generally each association has a website. Here, you can also find information on how to contact its representatives and ask questions.
Following are some information and tips to help you make your experience at the University of Minnesota as safe as possible.
As a large urban area, the Twin Cities is not free from crime. Generally, crimes occur after 10:30 at night. They also tend to occur in certain neighborhoods and around areas where alcohol is served. Being intoxicated can both raise the risk of either being a victim of a crime or being involved in an accident, and it impairs one’s ability to observe and be aware of the surroundings.
You can take some simple precautions to keep yourself and your belongings safe while you are living here. Trust your instincts regarding people and places, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you feel you are in danger, notify the police by calling 911. If you are ever in a situation that requires emergency or police help you can simply dial 9-1-1 on any phone. Your call will be dealt with by a dispatcher who will send the necessary help to you (police, ambulance, or firefighters).
The emergency number 9-1-1 is for emergency use only and should not be use in non-emergency situations. If you are calling for non-emergency events you could be holding up the phone line for someone who is actually hurt or needs help. Some reasons to call 9-1-1:
- Report a fire
- Report a car accident
- Call for help because of an injury/medical emergency
- Report a crime, especially one in progress
In Case of Emergency (ICE) Numbers
Since almost everyone carries a phone on them, it is good to enter an “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) number. Your ICE number should be somebody you want first responders to notify if you are involved in an accident and are unable to make a call or provide information. This number should be someone who is able to help take care of things for you immediately following an incident. The ICE person can be a spouse, sibling, parent or close friend, and should be able to provide some of your basic medical history.
- Always pay attention to your surroundings. If something does not feel or look right take note.
- When walking past people, looking at the ground or directly into someone’s eyes may make you seem vulnerable. Experts advise focusing on the neck area.
- Try to walk home with at least one another person and stay on well-lit streets. If alone, look confident and walk briskly.
- Avoid using headphones while walking or running, as they may decrease your ability to hear noises around you. For example, someone could easily approach you from behind or you may not be able to hear an oncoming car.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic if no sidewalk is available.
- Wear bright or light colors to increase your visibility at night.
- If you sense that someone is following you, try to head toward a populated area. It is hard for someone to attack with many people around.
- During the school year the U of M offer a walking home escort service. Simply dial 624-WALK. For more information: UMN Campus Escort Service
- Avoid carrying excess money, credit cards, or identification when going out. If you are robbed you do not want to lose everything you have at once. It is also a good idea to keep photocopies of all your identification in a safe place just in case something happens.
- Always carry enough change with you to make a phone call or take a bus or taxi.
- Do not leave any valuables—your backpack, purse, or cellphone—unattended.
- Avoid going to ATMs at night and by yourself. It makes you an easy target for robberies.
- When using an ATM machine, try to find one in a well-lit and busy area. Avoid counting your cash where other people can see you.
Entering and Exiting Buildings/Cars
- Lock your room whenever you leave it, as well as at night when you are studying or sleeping.
- Never let people you don’t know into you building.
- Do not let strangers into your home to use the phone, or for any other reason.
- Always lock your car.
- Park in well-lit areas when possible. It is much easier to see all your surroundings and check for danger.
- Leave an entry light on in your apartment or house. It will help you feel more comfortable coming home if it is dark and notice is anything is wrong.
- Make sure your windows are locked.
- Have your keys out and ready for use when approaching your building or car.
Protecting Your Personal Information
- Do not give your name, telephone number, home address or e-mail address to someone whom you do not know well. Ask the person for a contact number if you are interested in meeting again.
- You can suppress your personal information from the University web directory by going to MyU and selecting "Personal Information" from the list of Quick Links provided (on the right side of the page). Next, login in the Onestop system using your UMN Login and Password. As the "Personal Information" page opens, go to the "Menu" scroll down list provided at the top of the page and select “directory
- Never give out your personal information, credit card number, or Social Security Number on a telephone call you did not initiate.
- Do not use your full name on your voice machine.
- Never give out your personal information, credit card number or Social Security number by email. There are many email scams that ask for different parts of your identification in order to steal from you. Many of these emails may look legitimate. If you receive emails from financial institutions (from example, your bank), DO NOT REPLY or use the links provided, but always contact these institutions directly.
- If you are notified in any way (including by mail) that you have won something or that you have been selected for something special, unless you have actually applied for it, it is likely a scam set up to steal from you. If the message originates form an institution you do business with, contact that institution directly and verify with them the veracity of the information you have received.
- Learn that it is acceptable to say “no” directly. Anything else may be taken as “yes” or “maybe.” If you would like to know more, the UMN Counseling and Consulting Services (UCCS) office offers an Assertive Communication Workshop. You can contact UCCS at 612-624-3323 for more information.
- If you feel threatened or harassed, talk to an ISSS counselor. They are trained to help students in this situation.
Most importantly trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, there is probably something wrong. Get out of that situation as fast as you can.
REMEMBER: No matter when and where, if you are approached by an individual or a group of people who threaten you or demand money or property, give it to them. DO NOT RESIST!!!!
For more information visit UMPD Safety Tips or UMN Safety and Security
For information on child safety, check the Child Safety section in the Family Resource Guide.