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Safety in Ann Arbor

Unfortunately, Ann Arbor is not a sleepy little college town, and both students and non-students must cope with its crime rate. Like most cities of over 110,000 people, Ann Arbor has its share of violent and non-violent crimes. Here are some common sense suggestions to help you try to ensure your personal safety and the safety of your property.

Protecting Your Property

Insurance companies recommend that you photograph valuables as an additional record. Take valuables home over vacations if possible. You may trust your friends, but unfortunately, strangers do enter buildings. Don’t take chances by leaving your door unlocked. If your room or apartment is broken into and important valuables are stolen, do no disturb anything until the police come, so they can gather evidence. If the police come to investigate theft, have your detailed descriptions of the stolen items ready.

Safety at Home

When you are home, keep your living area secure. Make sure ground level windows are secure. Do not prop open outside doors. Make sure your doors have sturdy locks and use them even when you are there. On your mailbox and in the phone directory, list only your first initial. If you suspect someone is in your apartment when you return home, leave quickly and phone the police from a neighbor’s phone. If you live in off-campus housing, you have rights as a tenant to certain safety measures in your home/apartment. To find out more, speak with an off-campus advisor at the Housing Information Office (763-3164).

If you have a car, lock it when you leave, even for a few minutes, and even in the daytime. Keep valuables out of sight. Park in well-lit parking areas and be alert when using parking structures. Have your keys ready when approaching your car. Keep your doors locked while driving. If you have car trouble, raise the hood and then get back in your car, lock it, and wait. If another motorist stops to help, roll your window down just enough to ask him/her to phone for assistance.

Safety Outdoors

While crimes against people outside at night are relatively rare on campus, it is best to take some precautions wherever you are. While walking, walk briskly and confidently. If you appear strong and less vulnerable, you are less likely to be picked out by an assailant. If the sidewalks are dark, walk near the curb or down the middle of the street. Try to plan your route on busy, well-lit streets. Be aware of houses with lights on or open businesses in case you need to run for help. Be alert! If you suspect that someone is following you, turn around confidently and check; the surprise of a hostile look or an aggressive walk can stop someone looking for a victim. Wherever you are, if you see something suspicious or if you see someone in trouble, call the Department of Public Safety or the Ann Arbor Police, at 9-1-1. There are also Blue Light Emergency Phones on campus from which you can call for assistance by simply lifting the receiver; there is no need to dial. These emergency phones are direct lines to the Department of Public Safety.

Department of Public Safety

The Department of Public Safety manages the task of providing a safe environment for the University community. The Department operates 24 hours a day from its headquarters.

When should you call the Department of Public Safety? Call any time you need to report a crime, a fire, or a suspicious-looking person. Also, call when you need a building door unlocked or when you need to report a maintenance problem at night or on weekends. For non-emergency or information calls, dial 763-1131. Dial 9-1-1 from any University campus phone to report emergencies in progress. You may also contact the Department by using a Blue Light Emergency Phone on campus. Simply lift the receiver; no dialing is required with these emergency phones.

The Department of Public Safety is a full-service law enforcement agency. The Department is composed of security officers, communication officers, and police officers. Police and security officers patrol the campus on a regular basis and can respond to any call quickly. While on-campus, always call the Department of Public Safety in case of an emergency.

The Department of Public Safety also assigns security officers to patrol residential halls and all of the University Hospitals. Hospital Security Services operates as an independent unit on continuous duty, although they do send reports to the Department of Public Safety for follow-up and University statistics.

The Department of Public Safety, Housing Security, and Hospital Security Services all provide limited emergency escort services. There are several nighttime transportation and escort services offered around campus, but, if for some reason they are unavailable and you cannot find other assistance in getting from one end of campus to another, you may call Public Safety at 763-1131 to request assistance.

Department of Public Safety

1239 Kipke Drive
Emergency: 911
Headquarters Non-Emergency: 763-1131

North Campus Neighborhood Office

B300A Pierpont Commons
Phone: 647-4066

Central Campus Office

1085 Palmer Commons
Phone: 763-9395

South Campus Office

G080 Wolverine Tower
Phone: 615-1596

Safety Tips in Your Residence

  • Always keep your doors locked.
  • Use deadbolts on all exterior doors.
  • Make sure ground-level windows are secure.
  • Do not let strangers in without showing proper identification.
  • If you live in an apartment building, never prop open the exterior door or buzz unknown callers into the building.
  • Do not use your first name on your mailbox or in the telephone book. Use only your first initial.
  • Never undress in front of an open window.
  • Know your neighbors and which ones you can trust in an emergency.

Nighttime Transportation

State Street Ride

Free after-hours taxi service from any U-M building to the South State Street Commuter (Park and Ride) lot after buses have concluded daily service. To request a ride, phone Blue Cab directly at 547-2222. The service is available Monday through Friday from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.


S.A.F.E.Walk is the University’s free nighttime walking service. A trained Student Assistant from the Department of Public Safety will walk or drive you to your destination. S.A.F.E.Walk is available from any central or north campus building/location to any destination within a 20-minute walk or a 1-mile drive of the central/north campus diags. S.A.F.E.Walk is available 10:00 pm - 3:00 am, 7 days a week. Stay safe—call S.A.F.E.Walk at 763-WALK.

Night Ride

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority subsidizes a low-cost, shared-ride nighttime cab service, called Night Ride, that runs within the city limits. Night Ride operates from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and all passengers pay a fixed fare of $5.00 per person, regardless of the distance traveled in Ann Arbor. For information, call 528-5432.

Ride Home

Ride Home is a free shared-ride taxi service for students, faculty and staff to their residence hall, parked vehicle or local residence. This service is available after University transit buses and shuttles have concluded daily service: from 2 a.m. through 7 a.m., seven days a week. On Central Campus, rides are available from the Shapiro Undergraduate Library. To request a ride, phone Blue Cab directly at 547-9800 on a phone provided by the Library. From the Medical Campus, rides start at the Maternal and Child Health Center (MCHC) entrance. Riders can book their own rides, starting from 1:20 a.m. On North Campus, rides are available from the Duderstadt Center, where the staff book the trips for the passengers. You must show your valid U-M ID to the driver.

In case of an emergency, you can also call the Department of Public Safety at 763-1131 to request a ride.

Safety Tips When Traveling at Night

  • When traveling at night, try to walk in groups whenever possible.
  • Avoid secluded and/or poorly lit areas.
  • Be aware of open businesses or homes with lights on in case you must run for help.
  • Look assertive and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Trust your intuition. If a particular situation makes you feel uncomfortable, choose an alternative.
  • Keep keys accessible and ready to use when you approach your building or vehicle.
  • Wearing headphones increases your vulnerability, because you need all of your senses to be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not overload yourself with books, large bags, packages, etc.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes so that you can run if necessary.

Preventing Sexual Assault

The majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows. This means that our ideas about safety have to be broadened to include an examination of our relationships with acquaintances. One means of prevention is to increase our awareness of potential vulnerabilities. The decision about which precautions we take is a personal one based on how comfortable or safe we feel in any situation. Part of making that decision is to realize that it is natural to be uncomfortable or afraid in situations and that it is fine to take precautions or ask for help.

Because rape is primarily a crime that men commit against women the threat of rape can create mistrust and may put obstacles in the way of forming healthy relationships between men and women. The following are some suggestions for both men and women to think about.

Make sure that there is explicit agreement between you and your partner about any sexual activity in which you may engage. Realize that it is NEVER okay to force yourself on someone, no matter what the circumstances. It is also important to be aware of sex-role stereotypes (e.g., men must be aggressive and women submissive) and not to play into harmful roles.

Be aware of your own rights in any social situation. If you do not feel comfortable with a friend or a date’s behavior, confront him/her and tell him/her to stop. Assert your right to say no and to do only what you want to do. Another good rule is to be aware of both your surroundings and the behavior of people around you.

In addition, keep in mind that alcohol and other drugs may impair the judgment and ability to communicate for both you and your date.

Michigan’s Sexual Assault Law

Michigan law (Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutes of the State of Michigan) defines sexual assault as a crime involving forced or coerced sexual penetration (first and third degree) or sexual contact (second and fourth degree). Women, men, and children are covered under this law.

If You Are Sexually Assaulted

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Do not shower, bathe, douche, wash your hands, brush your teeth, use the toilet, change or destroy your clothing, or straighten up the area where the assault occurred. This is evidence that may be used if you decide to press charges.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Contact someone you trust.
  • Call Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) for support and information, 24-hour Crisis Line: 936-3333, office: 998-9368. Trained counselors can assist you over the phone and accompany you to the hospital.

Making a police report is not required, this is your choice. Reporting does not necessarily mean that you have to press charges or go through a trial. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) can help you make an anonymous report which will help police learn more about sexual assault and how to stop it.