UMD: A Globally Connected University

Safety and Security at the University of Maryland

Welcome to the University of Maryland!

For many of our international visitors, this may be your first experience living away from home in an unfamiliar country. This safety and security information should help you prepare for your stay here in Maryland and provide you with practical information about living and studying at the University of Maryland.

Safety is a common concern for international students and scholars. When entering a new culture, it is important to be knowledgeable about the basic laws of the country, rules governing the society, and the local community. Crime prevention, or being aware of the risks and taking precautions, is important.  What is "common sense" in regards to safety is somewhat universal, but can also vary from culture to culture.  

The University of Maryland is located in an especially diverse and dynamic location. The university is connected to the surrounding College Park community, and visitors should treat College Park as they would any large, modern city by considering the following information.

Maintaining Your Personal Safety in Public Areas

  1. Know your environment
    • Carry a mobile telephone and program the following numbers into your phone:

      -Police Emergency: 911
      -Prince Georges County Police  (Local Police) Non-Emergency: 301-352-1200
      -UMDPS  (University of Maryland Department of Public Public Safety) Escort: 301-405-3555
      -UMDPS On- Campus Emergency: 301-405-3333
    • Walk in lighted areas.
    • Know where you can go for help if confronted.
    • Locate blue light emergency phone stations.  If you stand anywhere on campus you should be able to see at least one at all times.  If you ever feel uncomfortable you can walk to a blue light and call campus police by dialing extension: 53555.
  2. Reduce the time you spend alone.
    • Walk with a friend.
    • Use the NITE Ride shuttle bus service: 301-314-NITE
    • Do not walk around at night alone while looking at your cell phone. Be aware of your surroundings. If you find yourself in a situation that could possibly compromise your safety, call the police or escort service.
    • Plan your walk – make use of video-monitored areas.
  3. Work together for a safer campus. Look out for each other.
    • Report suspicious activity to police. Dial extention: 5355 for report non-emergency information.
    • Share information with others.
    • If you feel that someone is following you go to a public area such as a bank, restaurant, or store.

Protecting your Property

Theft is the crime most often reported on campus. Theft occurs most often when property is left unattended or unsecured. The following are some steps you can take to help protect your property.

  1. Keep your belongings secure.
    • Lock them away.
    • Hold them in your hands.
    • Ask a friend to secure them for you.
    • Be aware of others around you when you are at an ATM (automatic teller machine at a bank) and try not to use it at night.
    • Don’t leave property visible in your parked car, instead, lock property in your car trunk.
    • Leave property at home. Do not carry large amounts of cash with you when you are out.
    • Do not use cable-style locks to secure bicycles. Cable locks are ineffective security devices in urban environments and cannot secure your bicycle for more than a couple of minutes U-locks, properly used, are the most effective means of securing your bike in an urban environment.
    • Keep records of your personal information, written or saved and kept in a secure place (do not carry them with you), in case you lose your wallet.
    • Keep your immigration documents in a secure place. Carry photocopies of your passport, I-20/DS-2019, and I-94 card when traveling locally.
  2. Safety at Home
    • Make sure that all windows and doors have locks that function properly.
    • If you live in a apartment or house with outside lights, make sure you use them. If you don’t, have your landlord install them.
    • Don’t leave spare keys outside in a garage, shed, near doors or windows.
    • Try to avoid having your keys and your address in your bag at the same time.
    • In the unlikely event that someone may break into your home, try to be prepared by going to bed with your mobile phone within reach.
    • Be aware of individuals who might be loitering around the entry way of your residence hall or apartment building.

Reporting Crimes

  • Report all crimes and suspicious activities to UMDPS as soon as possible.
  • Provide all details about the crime to UMDPS.
  • Keep UMDPS updated about crimes, providing additional information as you learn of it.
  • Warn others of problem areas.

Finding Private Accommodations

Start investigating and making arrangements as soon as you know when you will be traveling. If you are not able to find long-term options from abroad, then make sure to be aware of and make short term living arrangements such as hotels

  • Off-Campus Housing Services maintains listings and resources for available off campus housing. The staff is also available to answer questions and provide advice about the rental process in the US.
  • Some student organizations on campus help international students find accommodations; try to get in contact with these groups prior to landing in-country. A list of current student organizations is available here.
  • Try to check safety information for the area  that you wish to live in. If you are going to view potential accommodations, take someone with you if possible
  • Consider aspects such as walking distance and public transportation services for getting to the campus
  • If possible, ask for recommendations from colleagues

List of resources for more information