Crime Prevention & Fire Safety
Read the tips below for strategies on how to prevent crime and increase your personal protection in various situations.
General Campus Safety & Crime Prevention Tips
Tips for increasing your safety awareness and personal protection include:
- Program your cell phone: Program your phone to speed dial 911 and the Manhattan College 24/7 emergency Public Safety number: 718-862-7333.
- ICE: Assign an "In Case of Emergency" number (ICE) in your cell phone. Rescuers are trained to check your cell phone for an ICE entry. This is the person you want contacted in an emergency.
- Campus Pathway and Garage Emergency Blue Light Phones: These are located throughout Manhattan College. They are located on each garage level and certain remote campus pathways (see details below).
- Pathways: If possible, travel on well-lit pathways and be accompanied by another person.
- Suspicious Activity: Notify Public Safety of any suspicious persons, conditions or objects. We will respond and investigate.
- When Alone: If possible, telephone ahead to your destination that you’re on the way.
- Do Not Wear Headphones/Bluetooth Devices: These inhibit your ability to hear approaching automobiles, audible alerts and individuals who may be intent on harming you.
- Stay Alert: Focus on surroundings. Avoid texting while walking, especially when crossing streets.
- Plan-Seeking Assistance: Know where to obtain help in the event you may need it; pre-plan escape routes.
- Prevent Injury/Falls: Do not carry bags with the hand strap secured around your neck, you must be able to let go in the event you are involved in a struggle. Have bag draped over shoulder to prevent injury.
- Calm and Collected: Remain as calm as possible, don’t engage in a verbal confrontation and stay focused on getting help.
- Reality: Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself in certain situations. Consider escape routes and yelling for help. Your safety is far more valuable than any material items.
Every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide what course of action is appropriate.
Residence Hall Safety & Security
- Keep all the doors and windows locked, and do not allow or encourage unauthorized visitors in your hall, room or suite.
- Do not lend your school ID to anyone.
- Keep the combination number to your room confidential. Do not share it with anyone, including friends.
- Know the location of fire extinguishers, alarms and emergency exits.
- Follow campus rules about candles, incense, smoking, etc. (See student handbook).
- Mark all equipment using an identifier and keep a record of all serial numbers.
- Use a cable-locking device to secure computers, television sets, etc.
Public Transportation Safety
Safety on NYC Subways
- Remember that when you're on the platform, the safest place to wait is behind the yellow line, away from the edge.
- Be careful not to display money in public.
- Hold on to your pocketbook when using the shoulder strap.
- Keep your wallet out of sight and never put your wallet in your rear pocket.
- Be sure necklaces and other jewelry are not visible.
- Do not doze or fall asleep on the train.
- Beware of loud arguments or noisy incidents. They could be staged to distract you in order to pick your pocket.
Smart Tips for Riding Safely at Night
- Every station has an off-hours waiting area. Off-hours waiting areas may be located near the station booth, on the middle level in a two-level station or on the platform. These well-lit areas are marked by yellow signs usually hung from the ceiling.
- Try to wait for your train in an off-hours waiting area when you travel at night. You'll usually find a bench and a public telephone there (911 calls are free).
- In stations where you can't see the platform from the off-hours waiting area, an electronic sign alerts you to the arrival of a train. Once the sign indicates that a train is coming, you'll have enough time to reach the platform, so we suggest you wait near the sign.
- Off-hours waiting areas that are not in sight of the station agent have a ‘talk-back box’. You will find talk-back boxes mounted on station columns. You can talk to the station agent using the talk-back box.
- There are closed-circuit television cameras in off-hours waiting areas that are not in sight of the station agent. The camera enables the station agent to see you on the platform if you use the talk-back box.
- Try to avoid waiting at the far end of a platform at any time, especially when the station isn't busy. Wait toward the middle of the platform.
- Ride in the conductor's car when you travel at night. In most instances, you'll find a conductor's car in the middle of the train.
- At night, NYC transit sometimes runs trains with fewer cars. Look for a black and yellow platform sign that tells you where to board the conductor's car on short trains.
- Some short trains have no conductors, only train operators. Please board these short trains in the first car to ride with the train operator.
Vehicle Parking & Garage Safety
Emergency Blue Light Phones
For your safety and to provide an immediate means of communications with Public Safety personnel, blue light phones are located on each level of the parking garage. (See details below).
Hide Evidence of Valuables
Remove your GPS devices from dashboard or windshields (clean suction cup mark from windshield, this is a sure giveaway a GPS is hidden in the vehicle). Make every effort to remove all valuables from your car. Secure any valuable item left in your car out of sight; place in automobile trunk and out of view.
Additionally, the National Automobile Theft Bureau (NATB) recommends the following precautions:
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Close all windows and lock all doors.
- Activate any theft deterrent device you may have.
- Put packages or valuables out of sight; electronic devices/chargers and other expensive items in full view invite theft.
- If you park in a commercial lot or garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
- Do not program GPS unit to exact home address. If car is stolen, this may indicate that home is unoccupied.
- Do not keep license, registration or title in car. If left in car, thieves can use these documents to sell your car if stolen, or to impersonate you when they are challenged by police. Owners who indiscriminately leave keys, registrations and other identifiable material in their vehicles may return to their residence only to find that they are the victims of a burglary.
Active Shooter Response
Survival techniques vary from situation to situation and no checklist can ever address every situation. However, familiarizing yourself with certain basic personal protection concepts may provide you with a helpful level of confidence, in the event you find yourself in an active shooter situation.
Mentally exploring recommended options during a crisis provides focus with a sense of purpose and drive. Establishing tasks and goals during a crisis reduces the chance of panic and hysteria and increases your chance of survival.
General Safety Recommendations
- Utilize your cell phone speed dial.
- Be alert of your surroundings. Pay attention to windows/doorways/stairwells and escape routes.
- Travel along walls both indoors and outdoors, and stay behind objects for the purpose of concealment.
- Concentrate on your observations during the crisis; you may be able to provide important information to police. Focus on physical descriptions, clothing, weapons, number of shots fired, and the direction of movement by the individuals in question.
- Always determine your closest evacuation route (also applicable to fire safety).
- Clear hallways and stairwells, and if possible head toward exits.
- Depending on your location, consider escaping via a window. If necessary, use available items to break out windows. Once you make the decision to escape, though, do not hesitate; breaking the window may bring an unwanted response.
- Running makes you a difficult target (zig-zag).
- If fired upon in an open space, lie on the ground thereby reducing your physical exposure and crawl.
- If a fire alarm is activated, use caution when evacuating the building, it may be a ruse to get you to an open space.
Shelter in Place
- Seek cover and hide. Utilize closets/desks/cabinets/small spaces to minimize your exposure.
- Look; listen.
- Attempt to secure/lock as many doors and windows as possible.
- Close window coverings.
- Turn off lights.
- Remain quiet.
- Set cell phones/pagers to silent mode.
- If possible, separate into smaller groups and different rooms.
- Use every item available to you to set up barricades/obstacles or to fabricate weapons.
- Do not congregate in any area.
- Attempt to communicate your location and condition via cell, in-house phones or email to Public Safety and police.
- Assist disabled persons.
- Maintain cover while listening for rescuers.
Public Park Safety
The parks in New York are one of the city's finest assets. They are a great place to go and relax. The tranquility of the parks is rarely disturbed by criminal acts, but the police department recommends taking these simple precautions to ensure your safety.
- Do not take shortcuts or dirt paths through wooded areas. Stay on well-lit, populated pathways.
- Remember, there is safety in numbers. Always walk or run with a friend. Look into joining a local community running club.
- Remain alert and aware at all times. Don't wear headphones.
- Carry your wallet in the side pants pockets or inside jacket pocket. Never carry a wallet in the rear pants pocket.
- Carry pocketbooks in the bend of the elbow, close to the body. If there is a long strap, wrap it around the bag. If someone should attempt to snatch your purse, let it go.
- Don't wear excessive amounts of jewelry or carry large amounts of cash. Divide your money between pockets and handbags.
- Familiarize yourself with your local park. Know the locations of public phones and police call boxes.
- Should someone attempt to verbally harass you, just keeping on walking. Responding to this kind of behavior could escalate the situation.
- Know the locations of stores or businesses which may be open in the vicinity of the park. These locations may be a safe place to go should you feel threatened.
- Always carry some form of identification, even when running. A label in your clothing will be sufficient if you are not carrying a wallet or handbag. Name and address labels should always be sewn inside the clothing of your children.
- Closely supervise children as they play in the park. Instruct them on how to respond to strangers.
- Report suspicious persons or activities to the local precinct. Remember to dial 911 should you require emergency police or medical service.
Should you become the victim of a crime in a park or anywhere, remember:
- Remain as calm as possible. Don't make any quick or sudden movements. Many times the criminal is as nervous as you.
- Don't be a hero. No amount of money or property is worth your life.
- Be observant. Try to remember as much as possible about the criminal: sex, age, race, clothing, height, weight, etc.
- Call 911 immediately after the incident. Follow the instructions of the 911 operator and provide all the necessary information.
Fire Safety & Evacuation
- Move Away: Get away from the affected area, and verbally alert everyone else of the condition and the need to evacuate. Alert everyone by yelling and banging on doors while proceeding directly to the nearest exit.
- Activate: Pull the nearest fire alarm.
- Call: Contact fire emergency services at 911 and Public Safety at (718) 862-7333. Communicate the details of the condition by providing the exact location and nature of the emergency. Describe the fire or smoke condition to the best of your ability.
- Evacuate: Employees, students and guests are not expected to fight fires and must evacuate the building immediately at the first sound of an alarm. Evacuation should be made via the nearest safe exit. Employees and students must not alter their course of exit in order to search for or notify other occupants.
- Close Doors: If conditions permit, all doors should be pulled closed as occupants evacuate the building, this helps to contain the fire and smoke.
- Crawl: Evacuees should crawl and keep as low to the floor as possible, where there is less smoke.
- Test Doors: Evacuees should test doorknobs, doors and the space around the door with the back of their hand. If the door is warm, try another escape route. If it’s cool, open it slowly and slam it shut if smoke pours through.
- Do Not Re-Enter Building: Do not go back in or permit anyone else to re-enter a building that is in alarm status. Re-entry can only be made after an ‘all-clear’ signal is given by the fire department and the fire alarm system is reset.
- Use Stairs: Do not use an elevator during a fire, except in newer buildings where elevators continue to run until an elevator shaft smoke detector is activated.
- Trapped: If you can’t get out, call 911 and tell them your exact location. Seal the door with rags and signal from the window. Open windows slightly at the top and bottom, but close them if smoke comes in.
- Hazardous Materials: These should be secured and laboratory experiments terminated before leaving the building, unless doing so presents a greater hazard.
- Assembly and Roll Call: Evacuees will be directed by Public Safety staff to a designated assembly area, at least 150 feet from the affected area. At the assembly area, staff must make every effort to account for all occupants and immediately report their findings to the fire department and college administrators.
- Special Concerns: During an emergency, certain students and visitors may not be familiar with the evacuation plan and must be informed of the requirement to evacuate and the evacuation routes; special attention should be given to any persons with disabilities, especially those who are visitors or unfamiliar with the building.
- Disabled Persons: Public Safety makes every effort to track the locations of all persons (students, employees and visitors) with both obvious and reported disabilities during their time on campus. In the event evacuation is necessary, every effort must be made to facilitate and assist in the evacuation of persons with disabilities. Finally, Public Safety personnel shall immediately direct arriving emergency responders (fire, police and EMS) to the location of those individuals with disabilities. Evacuation chairs are available through the Public Safety Office in the event it becomes necessary to evacuate a non-ambulatory disabled person.