Safety resources and reminders from Public Safety

March 18, 2024

Dear Columbia Community,

On behalf of the Columbia University Department of Public Safety Team, I welcome you back from spring break. As you return, I want to remind you of the myriad of resources available to keep you and our university community safe. I would ask that you review the resources and familiarize yourselves with each of them. These tools combined with good safety practices will help create a safe environment in which to learn, work and live. The members of the Columbia University Department of Public Safety are eager to partner with students, faculty, and staff to maintain safety on all campuses. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or request assistance from one of our great officers.

Recent Crime Information and Trends

While New York City overall and Columbia’s neighborhoods in Morningside Heights, Manhattanville, and Washington Heights are relatively safe, it is important to take precautions to keep yourselves and others protected. I remind everyone to remain vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, and take advantage of the available safety resources provided by the University. Consult Public Safety’s extensive library of crime prevention tips and follow the latest crime information and trends in Columbia’s neighborhoods from resources provided by the NYPD.

Protect Yourself from Scams
There has been a rise of scams targeting Columbia students where scammers impersonate faculty members with job offers. Learn more about this and other common scams, along with tips to avoid them.

Phone Snatching
Police departments nationwide are reporting an increase in phone snatching. To safeguard your belongings, remain aware of your surroundings and consider keeping your phone secured in a zippered or buttoned pocket rather than easily accessible in your hand or backpack.

Travel Around Safely

  • The Intercampus Shuttle runs Monday to Saturday (excluding University holidays) among Columbia’s Morningside, Manhattanville, and CUIMC campuses.
  • The Manhattanville Loop connects frequently visited places on the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses and operates Monday to Friday (excluding University holidays).
  • The Passio Go! app allows you to track University buses in “real-time” as they travel.
  • The On-Demand Evening Shuttle provides transportation around the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses until 3:00 a.m. Download the Evening Shuttle app from the App Store (Apple) or Google Play Store.
  • Safety Escorts are available to walk with you across the Morningside, Manhattanville, and CUIMC campuses and surrounding areas.
  • Neighborhood merchants serving as Safe Havens are here to help if you ever feel uneasy about walking home, waiting for a bus, or walking to a car. The businesses are easily identified by a “Safe Haven” placard prominently displayed in their front window.
  • Blue Light Emergency Call Boxes, placed in various locations, provide an immediate response to you if you need assistance.

For more information on transportation services visit the Columbia Transportation website.

Attend a Safety Awareness Event

  • Public Safety hosts several safety events throughout the year. The seminars include self-defense and situational awareness, both designed to develop and reinforce your personal safety skills. A full calendar of events is available on the Public Safety website.

Download Public Safety’s Recently Enhanced Smartphone App – Lion Safe

  • The Lion Safe app – recently redesigned with student input – is available to all Columbia affiliates and allows you to quickly request emergency services, access maps, shuttle schedules, crime alerts, emergency protocols, and campus safety notifications. The Friend Walk feature allows you to share your location with a friend in real-time.

Make Sure You Receive Emergency Text Messages

  • Public Safety sends text updates about emergency events on or near campus. Check to ensure you are registered to receive emergency notifications and add family members so they can stay informed. For information on emergency protocols by campus, see this page.

Save Public Safety Emergency Phone Numbers

You never know when you may need help. Please store these critical numbers in your phone so you can reach us quickly.

  • Morningside Campus Emergency Line: 212-854-5555
  • Manhattanville Campus Emergency Line: 212-853-3333
  • Medical Center Campus Emergency Line: 212-305-7979

Protect Your Personal Items

Laptops, personal electronics, and bicycles are often easy targets for theft. Registering your personal property with Public Safety’s Operation ID Program can serve as a deterrent to theft and assist in the recovery of stolen items.

Connect With Us

Public Safety is here to support you 24/7/365 and strives to continually improve our service to the Columbia community, and your feedback is welcome. You can also always email Public Safety ([email protected]) with feedback and questions.

Subscribe to the Public Safety newsletter and follow Public Safety on Facebook (@cupublicsafety) and Instagram (@columbiapublicsafety) to keep up to date with the latest information.

In closing, I remind you that we each play a significant role in keeping the Columbia University community safe. If you see something, say something, by alerting Public Safety.


Gerald Lewis Jr. (he, him, his)
Vice President for Public Safety
Columbia University in the City of New York