The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is considered a safe place to live, but every neighborhood has different crime rates and different risks associated with it. To learn more about safety in a specific neighborhood and to get statistics related to safety in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis and St. Paul),you can visit the Police Department section of the City of Minneapolis website.
Another valuable resource is your neighborhood’s Community Association. Each neighborhood has a Community Association and generally each association has a website.
As a large urban area, the Twin Cities is not free from crime. Generally, crimes occur after 10:30 at night. They also tend to occur in certain neighborhoods and around areas where alcohol is served. Being intoxicated can both raise the risk of being a victim of a crime or being involved in an accident, and it impairs one’s ability to observe and be aware of the surroundings.
You can take some simple precautions to keep yourself and your belongings safe while you are living here. Trust your instincts regarding people and places, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you feel you are in danger or require emergency/police help, notify the police by calling 9-1-1 on any phone. Your call will be directed to a 911 dispatcher who will send the necessary help to you (police, ambulance, or firefighters).
9-1-1 is for use in emergency situations only, and it should not be use in non-emergency situations. If you are calling for non-emergency events you could be holding up the phone line for someone who is actually hurt or needs help. Reasons to call 9-1-1 include:
- Report a fire
- Report a car accident
- Call for help because of an injury/medical emergency
- Report a crime, especially one in progress
Police, fire, and hospitals all have non-emergency phone numbers that you can call for other reasons. They can be found online or in a local phone directory.
In Case of Emergency (ICE) Numbers
Since almost everyone carries a phone on them, it is good to enter an “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) number. Your ICE number should be somebody you want first responders to notify if you are involved in an accident and are unable to make a call or provide information. This number should be someone who is able to help take care of things for you immediately following an incident. The ICE person can be a spouse, sibling, parent or close friend, and should be able to provide some of your basic medical history.
Consult with your phone provider about the best way to enter your Emergency contact. Some phones have specific ways to store this information so that first responders can access it even if you have a passcode.
What You Can Do
Below is a list of possible actions you can take to increase your personal safety. More suggestions are available on the Safe U website.
- Always pay attention to your surroundings. If something does not feel or look right, take note.
- When walking past people, looking at the ground or directly into someone’s eyes may make you seem vulnerable. Experts advise focusing on the neck area.
- Try to walk home with at least one another person and stay on well-lit streets. If alone, look confident and walk briskly.
- Avoid using headphones while walking or running, as they may decrease your ability to hear noises around you. For example, someone could easily approach you from behind or you may not be able to hear an oncoming car.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic if no sidewalk is available. Bike riders should travel in the direction of traffic, if no dedicated bike lane is available.
- Wear bright or light colors to increase your visibility at night. Avoid wearing black or other dark colors.
- If you sense that someone is following you, try to head toward a populated area.
- The University of Minnesota has several options for individuals wanting assistance while walking or biking on campus. Please consult our Safety On Campus page for more details.
- Avoid carrying excess money, credit cards, or your passport when going out. If you are robbed you do not want to lose everything you have at once. It is also a good idea to keep photocopies of all your identification in a safe place just in case something happens.
- Do not carry your passport around campus to use as ID. You should be able to use your U Card on campus, and your passport should be locked in a safe place when not needed.
- Always carry enough change with you to take a bus or taxi.
- Do not leave any valuables—your backpack, purse, or cellphone—unattended.
- Avoid going to ATMs at night and by yourself.
- When using an ATM machine, try to find one in a well-lit and busy area. Avoid counting your cash where others can see you.
Entering and Exiting Buildings/Cars
- Lock your room whenever you leave it, as well as at night when you are studying or sleeping.
- Never let people you don’t know into you building.
- Do not let strangers into your home to use the phone or for any other reason.
- Always lock your car doors.
- Park in well-lit areas when possible. It is much easier to see all your surroundings and check for danger.
- Leave an entry light on in your apartment or house. It will help you feel more comfortable coming home if it is dark and notice is anything is wrong.
- Make sure your windows are locked.
- Have your keys out and ready for use when approaching your building or car.
Protecting Your Personal Information
There have been multiple instances, in recent years, where identity thieves and scammers have targeted international students. Below are a few recommendations of actions you should take, and visit our "Protect Yourself From Identity Theft/Email Scams" page for more.
- Do not give your name, telephone number, home address, or e-mail address to someone whom you do not know well. Ask the person for a contact number if you are interested in meeting again.
- By default, the University makes much of your contact information (name, email, phone number, address) public on the UMN Website. If you would like to suppress any of this info, you can do so by going to MyU, clicking on "My Info" and then clicking the pencil marker by "Directory Suppression."
- Do not use your full name on your voice mail.
- Never give out your personal information, credit card number, or Social Security number by email or on a telephone call you did not initiate.
- Be careful when reading your email. There are many email scams that ask for different parts of your identification in order to steal from you. Many of these emails may look legitimate. If you receive emails from financial institutions (from example, your bank), DO NOT REPLY or use the links provided. Instead, go directly to the institution's website or contact them directly.
- If you are notified in any way (including by mail) that you have won something or that you have been selected for something special, unless you have actually applied for it, it is likely a scam set up to steal from you. If the message originates form an institution you do business with, contact that institution directly and verify with them the veracity of the information you have received.
For information on child safety, check the Child Safety section in the Family Resource Guide.
- Learn that it is acceptable to say “no” directly. Anything else may be taken as “yes” or “maybe.” If you would like to know more, the UMN Student Counseling Services (SCS) office offers an Assertive Communication Workshop. You can contact SCS at 612-624-3323 for more information.
- If you feel threatened or harassed, talk to an ISSS counselor. They are trained to help students in this situation.
Most importantly trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, there is probably something wrong. Get out of that situation as fast as you can.
REMEMBER: No matter when and where, if you are approached by an individual or a group of people who threaten you or demand money or property, give it to them. DO NOT RESIST!!!!
For more information visit UMPD Safety Tips or UMN Safety and Security