Being safe and secure is an important aspect of your university experience in the United States. Not feeling safe or secure can lead to anxiety, stress, and psychological issues. It is important to know that in the United States, police and government officials potentially play a different role than they do in other countries.
Role of Police in the United States:
- Public servants
- Can be contacted anonymously
- Usually nice and most interested in helping you
- Role is to keep laws and protect individuals
What happens when I call the police?
- Asked to provide name (can ask to remain anonymous!)
- Asked to describe location
- Asked to describe the scene in as much detail as possible
- Asked for phone number in case they want to follow up
- They will have your phone number on record as the caller
- NO impact on your immigration status
When is it appropriate to call the 911?
- When you witness someone breaking the law
- When you are the victim of a crime
- When you feel threatened or unsafe
- When you see suspicious activity
- If you need urgent medical care and need to go to the hospital
- If there is a fire
- If you are in a car accident or witness a car accident
UMBC Campus Police also have a number of ways you can be in touch with them. We recommend signing up for the following:
UMBC Emergency Text Alerts: This service allows UMBC police to contact students, faculty and staff quickly via text message in case of an emergency or other important community update. You can sign up in your MyUMBC account – login, then click on the small bell icon to the left of your name at the top right side of the screen. You can then choose to sign up for “e2campus alerts” by entering your phone number. You can also choose to receive alerts to your computer if you like.
beamSmart app: This iPhone and Android app allows you to instantly connect with UMBC police via non-emergency chat, verbal police escort, and emergency contact. You can sign up for this free service here.
For more information, click here.
Even though police and firefighters are available to help keep you safe, it is also your responsibility to make sure that you’re taking steps to be safe both on and off campus. Please review some of these Safety Tips from the Baltimore County Police Department
Best advice to staying safe both on and off campus:
- Don’t be an Easy Target!
- Travel in Groups
- Avoid walking alone at night
- Avoid drawing attention – don’t obviously carry or wear expensive jewelry, technology, etc
- Be confident! Head up, eyes up!
- Be aware and alert
- Don’t leave valuable items unattended (ie laptops, bags or purses)
- Escort Service, UMBC Police (410-455-5555)