Crime Prevention & Safety Advice

The five most important things you can do to avoid being a victim of a crime are:

  1. Lock your room door when you are asleep or out of the room, even for a few minutes.
  2. Do not leave personal property unattended anywhere.
  3. Always be aware of your surroundings, whether on or off campus.
  4. Report suspicious persons to the Boston University Police Department. Do not assume they are okay; trust your instinct.
  5. Be clearheaded—no drugs, no alcohol.

Safety in Residences

  • Immediately report any strangers in your building or floor to the Boston University Police Department at 617-353-2121.
  • Never permit strangers into a residence.
  • Do not sign in anyone who is not your guest.
  • Never lend out your room or residence keys to anyone.
  • Always lock your room when away, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Inform the residence staff of any lock defects or lost keys.
  • Do not attach anything to your key that shows your room number.
  • On voice mail, never give your name, just the telephone number the caller has reached.

Safety on the Street

  • Always be alert to your surroundings.
  • At night, walk in well-lit, heavily traveled areas.
  • Use the Escort Security Service or walk with a friend.
  • Always avoid alleyways and deserted parking lots.
  • Never expose cash or expensive items.
  • Hold pocketbooks and purses under your arm.
  • Be cautious of strangers who approach you and ask for the time or for directions.
  • Do not stop if a car pulls up beside you. Get away from the car.
  • Use common sense; don’t jaywalk.
  • Use pedestrian walk lights and crosswalks.
  • Never hitchhike.
  • Learn the location of Boston University Police Department emergency blue-light telephones.
  • Be careful of scam artists. Never accept cash or checks from, or provide check cashing services to, anybody you don’t know.

Safety on Public Transportation

  • When possible, travel with a companion.
  • If you’re the only passenger in a subway car or bus, sit as close to the operator as possible.
  • In a deserted subway station, stand near the attendant’s booth.
  • At night, be particularly careful of oncoming traffic while getting off a bus or trolley.
  • Utilize the Transit Police in an emergency, at 617-222-1212.

Safety in Off-Campus Housing

  • All exterior doors should have good-quality locks.
  • Main doors should have an optical viewer.
  • The hallways should be well lit.
  • An intercom system should work properly.
  • Mailboxes should show no signs of tampering.
  • Only your last name should appear on your mailbox.
  • All windows accessible from the ground level should be protected by bars or grilles.
  • Make sure the bars or grating can be opened from the inside in the event of a fire, and that you are given a key if one is required.
  • Check your smoke detectors regularly and change the batteries every six months.
  • All fire escapes should be enclosed or raised from the ground to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Trees or bushes near the building should not be overgrown, and bushes should be kept below window height.

Theft Prevention

Be particularly careful of your personal property when in public places such as dining rooms or libraries.

  • Never leave your laptop, pocketbook, or backpack unattended, even for a minute.
  • If you must leave your property behind, ask a trusted friend to watch it.
  • Never allow yourself to be lured away from your property by a stranger.

Fire Safety

  • In the event of a fire, call 911 first and then call the BUPD at 617-353-2121.
  • Educate yourself on fire safety by visiting the BU Fire Safety website.
  • The majority of student fatalities from fire occur in off-campus housing, such as apartments and rented houses.
  • Know your escape routes and be familiar with alternative exits in case of fire.
  • The use of candles in residences has risen greatly in the past decade and so have candle fires. Fires caused by candles have tripled in Massachusetts over the last 10 years!
  • Burning candles in on-campus housing is strictly forbidden.
  • Do not leave cooking items unattended.

Whether you live on or off campus, if for any reason your safety, security, or health is placed at risk due to weather, environmental, or housing conditions, don’t hesitate to call the Boston University Police Department; or if it is not an emergency, call the Dean of Students office.