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Auto Theft


The Department of Public Safety Offers the following Services to help prevent Auto Theft:

Combat Auto Theft- FREE- Owner registers vehicle with the NYPD.  Car is not operated between 1 AM & 5 AM. Decals are affixed to rear side windows of registered vehicle. Police can stop a registered vehicle if it is being operated between those hours.

Commuter C.A.T.- FREE- GOAL: Reduce theft of automobiles parked during the day by commuters. Local vehicle will be parked during business hours (10AM to 4PM). Owner signs waiver giving the police the right to stop the vehicle if it is operated during those hours. Decals are similar to C.A.T. stickers with the addition of black stripes stickers. 

H.E.A.T.- FREE- (HELP END AUTO THEFT) Majority of persons arrested for auto theft were under 25 years old. Owners register vehicle in local precinct. Owner must be over 40 years old. Owner signs waiver stating that persons under 25 years old does not use auto. Police have the right to stop the auto anytime a person apparently under the age of 25 is operating it. 

Auto V.I.N. Glass Etching- FREE-The auto’s vehicle identification number is etched onto all the auto’s class. Serves to deter theft and trace the stolen part. Save up to 15% off your comprehensive insurance.

“The Club” &“The Cover”- Discounted- High visibility, tough to defeat, unbeatable protection, installs in seconds, tempered steel, self locking, police recommended. It is highly recommended that you use The Club & the Cover together. The Cover protects the airbag  & prevents your steering wheel from being cut and The Club defeated.

For more information please call Crime Prevention Office @ 212-854-8513



  Preventing Auto Theft

      A vehicle is stolen every 25 seconds in the United States. Follow these tips to help keep your vehicle safe:


         Carjacking Attempts

A carjacking can happen anytime a thief sees the opportunity. Learning to recognize the warning signs can help you protect yourself and your vehicle.


Automotive Breakdowns

It is a commonly known fact that vehicles can and do breakdown. Follow these tips to ensure your safety.







             Harassing, Obscene Phone Calls are Against the Law


Receiving unwanted calls can be frustrating and sometimes frightening. However, in most cases, the calls can be stopped by using some simple but effective techniques. These calls are made for any number of reasons, broken relationships, an unhappy employee or co-worker, callers who simply hang up if someone other than the person they’re calling answers. Often they’re placed by someone you know. The key to handling the calls is not to react to them. Reacting could encourage the caller.  In Addition,

·         HANG UP when you    realize the call is intended to harass you.

·         BEWARE of persons claiming to be the police, a doctor or a university official. Get their number and call them back.

·         KEEP TRACK of the date and time of the calls to determine a pattern. This can help you narrow the possible suspects.

REPORT harassing calls to your telephone carrier and the police or, if you live on campus, Columbia University Dept. of Public Safety 854-5555  (MS campus) or 305-7979 (MC campus). Calls can be traced and forwarded to the Police for investigation and possibly, conviction.  






  Identity Theft– A Growing Problem

Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully uses your personal identification to obtain credit, loans, services, even rentals and mortgages in your name.  Information can be stolen from a consumer in a variety of ways including: Going through your mail or trash to take pre-approved credit card offers, discarded receipts or other personal information; stealing your purse or wallet; calling you over the phone posing as a solicitor in order to gain personal information including date of birth and social security number or looking over your shoulder at an ATM while you are accessing your account, to steal your password, or pin.

Avoid becoming a victim: Order copies of your credit report from all 3 credit reporting agencies to get as much information as possible. Contact the credit reporting agencies in writing and let them know you are disputing inaccurate items in your credit report due to possible identity theft. Contact the credit card companies who are reporting the false debt and have them investigate possible identity theft. Keep all copies of all letters; document phone calls and request a letter from the agencies stating these items are under investigation. Do not carry important documents such as your social security card, birth certificate or passport unless absolutely necessary.

Only carry the credit cards in your purse or wallet that you need when shopping. Keep a list of your credit card account numbers, with expiration dates and telephone numbers for all your bank accounts and keep them in a safe location. In an emergency, you can notify these companies quickly to avoid fraudulent charges or purchases. Invest in a shredder and shred discarded papers with your information. Use a mix of letters and numbers when creating passwords.







                      "Phishing" - The Hottest & Most Troubling New Scam on the Internet



Phishing is the term coined by hackers who imitate legitimate companies in e-mails to entice people to share passwords or credit-card numbers. Recent victims include Charlotte’s Bank of America, Best Buy and eBay, where people were directed to Web pages that looked nearly identical to the companies sites.  Tips on how to avoid the internet scam know as phishing:

If you receive an unexpected e-mail saying your account will be shut down unless you confirm your billing information, do not reply or click any links in the e-mail body.

·         Before submitting information through a website, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar. It means your  information is secured during transmission.

·         If you are uncertain about the information, contact the company through an address or telephone number you know to be genuine. 

·         If you unknowingly supplied personal or financial information, contact your bank and credit card company immediately.

Suspicious e-mails can be forwarded to, and complaints should be filed with the state attorney general’s office or through the Federal Trade Commission at





              Personal Safety—Street Smarts


Four ways to increase your personal safety:

1-Reduce or eliminate opportunities that make you a target.

2-Remain alert, even in places you’re most comfortable.

3-Trust your instincts, even if it makes you feel self conscious

4-Prepare your daily schedule with safety in mind.  



   Walking–Be Street Smart

Use well populated and well lit streets. If you suspect you’re being followed, stay away from deserted blocks and head for an area where there are many people, or the nearest open store or a Public Safety SAFE HAVEN (RED LION DECAL ON WINDOW).

Ask the storeowner to call 911 or CU Public Safety. If you’re being driven home, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside. Use Public Safety ’s Escort Service  (854-SAFE at  M.S. campus or 305-8100 at H.S. campus). If you have a cell phone, program the Escort & Public Safety Emergency numbers:

212-854-5555 at MS Campus & 212-305-8100 at MC Campus.





Have your keys ready before you get to the door. Look back before entering you’re building or home. If you live in an apartment, close the lobby door behind you, especially if a stranger is approaching. Make all visitors and delivery persons use the doorbell. When placing name on mailboxes or on your bell, use only the last name, e.g., The Smiths.


When recording an outgoing message on your answering machine, avoid leaving your name, phone number or a message that indicates you’re not at home. A good message is, “We are unable to answer the phone. Please leave a message.” Say it confidently.









Columbia University in the City of New York


                   Crime Prevention Tips During Exam Periods


During exam times, thefts of personal property seem to increase. We ask you to be vigilant in safeguarding your possessions. Please do not leave them unattended, even for a few minutes.

·         Be mindful of your surroundings while in the library, lounges, and cafeteria. Students often get so involved in their studies that they tune out their surroundings, thereby creating an opportunity for a theft to occur.

·         Do not leave your backpacks, laptops, cell phones, books, pocketbooks, CD players, etc., unattended & unsecured.

·         While in the library, “TEAM UP” with a friend to watch your property while you take a break and then you do the same for them.

·         Remember to lock your room door, even if you are only going next door or to the bathroom for a minute,

·         Do not prop open doors.

As always, report suspicious activity to Public Safety RIGHT AWAY! @ The Morningside Campus 854-5555 or 99 on campus. @ The Medical Center Campus 305-8100 or 5-7979 on campus.