Campus & Home Safety

Yale is located in the heart of a vibrant urban community, with all the arts, culture, and rich diversity of experience that city life brings. With city living, it is important to take steps to stay safe, and Yale invests in significant public safety resources. Refer to the information below to find out more about Yale safety services, as well as general safety tips and resources.

Yale Safety Services

Yale Security and the Yale Police Department keep students and other community members safe. Yale has over 500 Blue Phones scattered around campus, and students can also use Bulldog Mobile to turn their own cellular devices into a safety device. The Security office provides nighttime safe rides as well as walking escort services. Community members can also request Police and/or Security presence at events. The ID and Lockout Services provided by our Security Department are especially popular amongst undergraduate students.

Safety Tips

  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts; they are usually right. If you feel uncomfortable or that something is wrong, leave the area.
  • Keep your apartment, dorm room, bicycle and car locked.
  • Don’t walk alone at night - take a friend or two along.
  • Walk in the well-lit areas. When well-lit areas are not available, use the campus transportation services and security escorts by calling 432-6330 or 203-432-WALK.
  • Do not use your passport as an ID.  Keep it at home. (You may want to get a CT driver’s license or non-driver photo identification card to use as official ID).
  • Avoid confrontations through polite refusals.  If a stranger is overly friendly or makes a request you don’t understand or don’t trust, simply say, “I’m sorry.  I cannot help you,” and walk away. 
  • Never use or enter an ATM  without checking to see who is around.  If you feel uncomfortable, do not enter the vestibule and do not withdraw money.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash with you. It is safer to use checks, money orders, traveler’s checks or debit/credit cards. 
  • Never open your door to someone you do not know. Official company representatives and service personnel from companies such as Southern Connecticut Gas, Federal Express, Comcast, etc. will wear uniforms and carry official identification.  Ask for their ID before allowing them to enter your home.
  • If you are offered something on the street or over the telephone and you feel uncomfortable, you can say, “No thanks,” and walk away or hang up. 
  • Never give personal information (e.g. name, address, social security number, credit card number, etc.) over the telephone, or through e-mail.
  • Have your keys in your hand and be ready to quickly open the door of your car or apartment.
  • If someone approaches you, demands your money, or personal property and threatens to hurt you, do not resist. Give them what they ask for and report the incident to the police immediately.
  • Do not leave valuables visible in your vehicle.
  • Do not leave your books, backpack, purse or other valuables unattended anywhere, including the library or your office.

Home Safety

Safety at home is an important concern that spans everything from keeping the outside of your home safe from intruders, to ensuring that your premises have functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, clear foot paths, and much more. Getting accustomed to the details of your new environment takes time, and in the process of doing so safety checklists can be particularly helpful. Dwellings, along with the particulars of windows, doors, fasteners, and locks, can be quite different in different countries. For example, some international students and scholars are struck by the comparatively simple lock mechanisms in the U.S. and find them unsettling. It is common, however, for front doors of private homes in the greater New Haven area to be made of wood and fastened by one dead bolt style lock, and for windows (mostly sash-style) to be secured with a simple latch. Conventions for doors and windows will vary according to location.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety

Make certain your apartment or house has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. In addition, you will want to raise your awareness of fire prevention and how to respond in the unlikely event of a fire. Carbon Monoxide is toxic gas that is colorless, odorless and potentially fatal. Get to know the symptoms and signs of carbon monoxide leakage that results from gaseous fuels that are not completely burned - from fireplaces, gas water heaters and stoves, vehicles idling vehicles in garages, and other sources. Early symptoms are flu-like without the fever, and advanced symptoms include mental confusion, vomiting and ultimately death. Battery operated carbon monoxide detectors are the best choice for protecting your home, and all gas appliances and heating systems should have yearly safety checks by a professional. All smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested every six months to make sure they are functioning properly. Establish the habit of checking them when the clocks are set forward or back each year for daylight saving time.

Street Safety

Getting Around New Haven

Can drivers be trusted to stop for pedestrians in cross walks? Is it ever okay for a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk? How can I stay safe as a motorist, pedestrian, cyclist? Learn to be a good citizen of the street. Increase your street smarts and your level of safety by getting to know the Smart Streets website, developed through a partnership between the City of New Haven and Yale University. Click here for additional information on walking and biking in New Haven.

Panhandlers/Homeless

Panhandling (or begging) is an offense which can be cited and fined in the U.S., but it doesn't stop panhandling from occurring. While panhandling is not unique to New Haven or to the U.S., it is something that you should be aware of and know how to deal with it, if it becomes aggressive panhandling.

You may encounter panhandlers in public places such as street corners or public transportation (by subway stations, bus stops, etc). They most typically ask for money (in the form of spare change) and may have a sign indicating this and a collection bin (such as an empty coffee cup, a box, a hat). Sometimes they may ask for something to eat. Here are some suggestions on how to handle requests from panhandlers:

  • If you decide you cannot or do not want to give, you can turn down the request by simply saying a polite “no”
  • if you do decide to give money, generally spare change or a dollar bill readily accessible in your pocket is better than taking out your wallet or purse
  • if the person is asking for money to get to a shelter, you could ask which shelter and give money directly to the shelter or organization which helps feed and house the person
  • if the person is asking for coffee or food, you may consider going into a nearby coffee shop or deli to buy something for the person

While most panhandlers will accept a simple “no” and move onto the next person, sometimes you may encounter a panhandler who becomes verbally or physically aggressive, turning a request for spare change into a tense confrontation. Here are some suggestions on how to handle aggressive panhandling:

  • say as little as possible; do not engage in an argument
  • keep moving
  • if you are blocked, do not become physical with the person
  • create some distance between you and the panhandler, such as cross the street or backtrack to take an alternate route
  • if you feel a genuine threat to your safety, call for help from others around you, go into a nearby retailer, and call the police

If someone approaches you, demands your money and threatens to hurt you, do not resist. Give them your money and report the incident to the police immediately. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts, they are usually right. If you feel uncomfortable or that something is wrong, leave the area.