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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

Living in New York > Safety Tips Before and After You Arrive

Safety Tips Before and After You Arrive

Concerns about Safety and Security


Popular misconceptions of New York City are that it is a dangerous city. In reality, New York has among the lowest crime rates among major metropolitan cities in the United States.  As in any large metropolitan area, however, common sense and awareness can help you avoid problems and difficulties.

It is advisable to take certain precautions when you arrive and during your stay in New York:

Arrival Safety Tips


  •     You may wish to plan your trip so that you arrive in New York during business hours (9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.). This will make it much easier for you to receive assistance should you need it.
  •     Use good judgment. Do not leave your luggage or personal property unattended or with strangers, however courteous.
  •     Take "yellow" taxis from official taxi stands and use official, authorized means of transportation. Do not let strangers take your bags or escort you to taxi / car services.

Travel and Street Safety Tips


  •     If taking the subway at night, stay in designated 'yellow' waiting areas near the subway entrance or toll booths.  Likewise, ride in the subway car near the middle of the train, which is closer to the conductor.
  •     Walk in well-lit and well-trafficked areas; crimes are more likely to take place in darkly-lit or isolated places.
  •     Do not flash large amounts of cash; take traveler's checks and keep your money in different locations when traveling.
  •     Beware of 'con' games in which strangers solicit you for help or assistance with promises to repay you.
  •     If you plan to ride a bike, buy a good lock and use it even at any time you plan to be away from your bike.

Campus Safety Tips


  •     Do not leave your laptop computer, iPod or MP3 player, or other valuable items unattended in the library, dormitory, or other places - even for short periods of time.
  •     Lock your dorm room when leaving.
  •     Report any missing personal property to the TC Security Office in Whittier Hall immediately.
  •     Carry and show your TC ID card at all times around the TC campus.
  •     Keep valuable official documents, such as your passport, in a safe place in your dorm room - do not carry official documents with you unless you have to.
  •     Do not reveal personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth and/or Social Security number or other personal identifying information to strangers

By keeping to these points of advice and by using common sense, you should be able to avoid any difficulties while studying at Teachers College.

TC Safety and Security Office


Teachers College maintains a Safety and Security Office that works closely with the New York City Police Department to maintain public safety and security in the TC neighborhood. If you have any concerns during your stay, please report them to the OIS and to the TC Security Office.
Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: