Crime Prevention

You Safety

Learn how to reduce or eliminate the likelihood that you will become a victim

Personal Safety Tips

  1. Reduce or eliminate opportunities that may make you a target.
  2. Increase awareness in places where you're most comfortable.
  3. Trust your instincts even if you feel embarrassed.
  4. Prepare your schedule daily with safety in mind.
  • Be AWARE of your surroundings at all times and trust your INSTINCTS.
  • Stay in well lit, populated pathways. Avoid shortcuts.
  • Travel in groups. There's always safety in numbers.
  • Walk with your head upright. Make eye contact. Thieves often target victims who are not paying attention to their surroundings or who are looking down.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings when using electronics on the streets, subways & buses. Don't tune yourself out. DON'T walk with headphones on or text. If you use headphones change the color of your earphones from "White" to any other color. White earphones usually indicate that you have an APPLE DEVICE which is an attractive target for thieves.
  • Don't display electronics when not in use. Avoid becoming a victim of "Apple Picking."
  • Program Department of Public Safety, St. John’s University into your contact list. 
    • 718-990-5252
    • 718-990-6281
  • If you observe anyone acting in a suspicious manner, or if you feel threatened in any way, call the police immediately by dialing 911.

Safety Visiting Off-campus Establishments.

  • Do not go out alone. Always go out in groups of 2 or more and travel on well-lit and populated streets.
  • Tell your friends/roommates if you’re leaving, with whom, where you’re planning to go and when you’ll see them back at home.
  • Do not accept open drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from others who you do not know or do not trust; this includes drinks that come in a glass.
  • Never leave your drink unattended or turn your back on your table.
  • Do not drink from open beverage sources like punch bowls, pitchers or tubs.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open; if friends appear to be "too intoxicated" for what they have consumed, leave the party or club immediately, and return home or seek medical attention. Do not return to the club or party!
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Know where you need to go and the safest way to get there.
  • Trust your instincts: If you sense something is wrong, get away from the situation.

The campus and University facilities are private property. It is the University’s expectation that visitors abide by University rules. Policies for persons visiting residence halls are outlined in the Resident Life Handbook.

Safety and security within residence halls is the joint responsibility of the Offices of Residence Life, Public Safety and the residents.

Ensuring that residence halls are free from uninvited visitors requires that residents themselves take an active role in making sure strangers are reported to hall staff and/or Security. Residents should protect themselves by always locking their doors whether they are in or away from their rooms – even when leaving for a moment. Residents should not prop open locked doors. Do not sign is guests for a friend that you don’t know. Remember that residents are held accountable for the actions of their guests.

Residence Hall Crime Prevention Tips

  • Lock the door to your room when you are sleeping or are out.
  • Take care of your keys and storm card! Don’t give anyone the chance to duplicate them. Don’t leave a key or your storm card around so that it could be used.
  • Don’t leave valuables, like your wallet, checkbook, or jewelry, in open view.
  • Look out for your fellow students. Report any and all suspicious activity and crime to Security immediately
  • Report the theft of any property to public safety immediately.
  • Students need to be aware of their surroundings, walk with a positive bearing. If you use an electronic device to listen to music, keep the volume to a reasonable level.
  • Trust your instincts; if a situation makes you feel uncomfortable, get away as quickly as possible. Make casual eye contact with the person making you feel uncomfortable just to let them know you are aware of their presence.
  • Travel in groups of two or more (the buddy system)
  • Let a roommate or friend know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  • Be aware of pickpocket situations — crowded areas e.g. subways, concerts, etc.
    • Men - carry wallets in front pants pocket.
    • Women - use bags, pocketbooks etc. that zipper well; keep pocketbooks on your lap when in restaurants etc. Avoid the backs of chairs or under the table, carry your bag close to your body, tucked in the bend of your elbow. Avoid bags that clasp or snap shut.
  • Beware of scam artists offering big returns for little or no money (often referred to as good faith money). If it seems too good to be true - IT IS.
  • The best time to use ATMs is during the daylight hours. Use bank affiliated ATMs whenever possible.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; avoid counting or displaying money on the street.
    • Minimize the number of credit cards carried.
    • Carry money for emergencies e.g. cab fare, quarters for phone calls
  •  When traveling, plan your route ahead of time, know how to get to where you are going.


  • Subway stops with lit green globes are open 24 hours a day, red globes means entry is closed, red over white coloring is a metro-card only entrance. It is always a good idea to have a metro-card with a sufficient balance.
  • On subways — where possible stay in the token booth area until your train arrives
  • On the platform — look for a black and white striped board. That is where the car with the conductor will stop. You can also ride in the first car where the train operator is located.
  • When entering a subway car look around. Does anyone make you feel uneasy, if so, move.
  • Try sitting in the middle of the subway car away from the doorway.
  • Keep chains and jewelry hidden. Turn gemstones in toward your palms.


  • On the street — Travel well-lit and populated areas. Avoid "short cuts." If you must travel alone late at night, call someone at your destination to let them know you are coming and how long it will take you to arrive.
  • If a car approaches you and asks for directions, speak with the occupants at a safe distance no matter what.
  • If you feel you are being followed cross the street, if that person follows you again, re-cross the street. If you're still being followed look for a open store etc., begin to run, call out "HELP!!", or call out to someone on the street as if you know them.

This section will be updated regularly with new content alerting the university community to current crime trends and offer advice regarding how to avoid becoming a victim.

Telephone Scam Alerts

Beware of people calling you on the phone and asking you to wire money. Anyone is a potential victim!

The target victim of this scam is called by someone claiming to be a relative who needs bail money to get out of jail. Or they may claim your family member has been kidnapped and will demand ransom be paid via a money transfer service such as Western Union. Anyone calling and asking you for money MUST be considered suspicious.

If your receive a call asking you to wire money there is a chance you are being scammed.

Crime Prevention Tips

  • Hang up the phone
  • Remain calm and contact your loved one to verify their safety
  • Never wire money in a panic
  • Never give your personal or financial information to the caller
  • CALL 9-1-1

For additional crime prevention tips or programs, contact your local Precinct's Crime Prevention Officer or visit the NYPD's Crime Prevention Section.

IRS Telephone Scam

Students on some campuses have received suspicious telephone calls from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. The caller claims that the student owes a large amount of money to the IRS and there is a warrant for his or her arrest.  The caller demands that a partial payment be made to avoid arrest.  This type of fraud is common enough that a warning has been posted on the IRS web site.

The IRS web site is: IRS Telephone Scams

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

"If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling!” The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how the IRS conducts business.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do: If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.

If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

If you’ve been targeted by these scams, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at  Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

Kidnapping/Medical Extortion Telephone Scams 

Since late 2012 when this telephone scam started it is becoming increasingly more prevalent. Recently this crime has been targeting members of northern Manhattan’s Hispanic community. 

How does the crime take place? 

A male Hispanic will randomly call cell phone numbers until he gets an answer. He will attempt to convince whoever answers the phone that a family member or loved one has become a victim of an accident or has been arrested. On a few occasions the scammer claims a relative of the victim was kidnapped and will be killed unless ransom is paid through a wire transfer through Western Union. 

The scammer will attempt to convince the person they are speaking with that they will need to wire money to him in order to cover medical expenses or to bail their relative out of jail. The scammer does not know whom he is speaking to and relies on the victim to supply the necessary information to continue the scam, such as; names of relatives, bank account information and other personal information. The scammer will ask for/demand several hundred to several thousand dollars in ransom money. 

Crime Prevention Tip: 

Should you receive a call demanding that you wire money for a ransom, bail or medical expenses for a relative involved in a car accident you should: 

  • • Ask the caller their name and who they represent 
  • • Never supply personal information to the caller 
  • • Ask the caller for a number where you can call them back 
  • • Never send money to someone you don’t know, especially if they initiated contact with you 
  • • Hang up the phone 
  • • Remove personal phone numbers or information from social-media profile pages 
  • • Call 9-1-1 to report the incident 

Be sure to share this information and discuss this crime with your friends and family members.
[email protected] | | (646) 610-5323 | | | 

  • Never give your password to anyone.
  • Change your password frequently.
  • Do not allow others access to your email account.
  • Monitor your access time; by keeping track of when and how long you were on a computer system, it will be obvious if someone has gained access to your account.
  • Be wary of anonymous “re-mailers”.
  • Do not put personal information or photos on your web page and do not give personal information that can identify where you live to social networking sites.
  • Never leave your computer/laptop unattended.
  • Engrave markings on your computer.
  • Shop online only with companies that you know; check with the Better Business Bureau if unsure.
  • Use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information or pay with a money order or check.
  • Update your virus software regularly, or when new versions are available.
  • Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don’t know.
  • Make certain that all your personal information is deleted from your computer prior to disposing of it. 
  • Never leave your bike unlocked even for a minute. Take time to make sure your bike is properly secured. Secure the lock through the frame and both tires.
  • Don’t park in dark or infrequently traveled areas.

The majority of the bicycles stolen on campus are locked with cable locks.

  • Don’t secure your bike with a cheap lock.
  • Use a U-Lock instead of a cable lock. U-Locks are solid steel and are very hard to cut. Cable locks can be cut easily. If you prefer to have a lock that is flexible like the cable lock, make sure that it is at least 3/8″ in diameter.
  • Always secure your bike to a bike rack or solid object. Secure both wheels and frame.
  • You can purchase locks at Public safety at a discounted price.
  • Remember that locks are only a deterrent.
  • Report all suspicious persons loitering around bike racks by calling public safety at x5252 or x6281.

If it can be removed, it can be stolen!

  • Quick release tires and adjustable bicycle seats are good examples of parts that are stolen easily. You may ask, “Why would anyone want to steal a bicycle seat?” To sell to someone who has a bicycle without a seat! It’s an ugly cycle.
  • Remove the quick releases altogether and bolt the parts onto the bicycle; this may make changing a flat tire harder but will slow down and deter thieves. Or remove quick release parts when you park and take the parts with you. To protect your wheels, always lock them with a strong lock.
  • Engrave identifying markings on anything removable to aid in recovery, but better to secure your bicycle parts so that they cannot be removed easily.

The NYPD has initiated a program called Operation I.D. Operation I.D. allows you to register your bicycle with the NYPD. Public safety works closely with the NYPD and can assist in registering you bicycle.