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Recent Cambridge incidents prompt safety reminder from MIT Police

Several recent high-profile incidents are a reminder to the Institute community that safety is always an important consideration for those who live, study and work on our urban campus.

In response to several local police reports, including two sexual assaults on or near the Harvard University campus in August, Sgt. Cheryl Vossmer of the MIT Police offers the following safety tips and resources for the MIT community.

“Program the MIT Police number into your mobile phone”
To call the MIT Police, dial 617-253-1212. You can also dial 100 from any campus phone.

The MIT Police serve 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Vossmer says. “We’re here to ensure a safe educational environment and to help in emergencies,” she says. “Putting our number in your phone is a quick and easy way to be prepared if you need us. If you are uncomfortable in any situation, do not hesitate to call us.”

“Take advantage of MIT’s shuttles and SafeRide”
MIT shuttles provide transportation across the campus and to neighborhoods in Cambridge, Boston and Brookline from early morning until late night.

“Check out the shuttle schedules and routes to learn how MIT can help you get close to home, even late at night,” Vossmer says. Learn more about MIT shuttles.

SafeRide provides safe transportation within and around the MIT campus from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 6 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. The service is free and available to all members of the MIT community. Learn more about SafeRide.

The free MIT app for smartphones has a great “Shuttles” feature with schedules and real-time shuttle tracking
“Be aware. Don’t take your safety for granted”
MIT is an open campus in an urban area, Vossmer notes. “We share many of the crime and safety issues that exist in any city,” she says. “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that you must be aware when you are traveling around MIT and the neighboring communities.”

\Vossmer suggests the following considerations to keep safe when walking at night:
  1. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts;
  2. Avoid talking on your phone, listening to music, or otherwise not paying attention while walking;
  3. Walk with a friend or in a group whenever possible. If you are alone, walk with confidence and at a good, steady pace. Keep your head up and observe your surroundings;
  4. If someone approaches you displaying a weapon or demanding your property, comply with the request and do not resist.
“Learn how to improve your safety”
“It important to think in advance about your personal safety and what are good practices to keep safe,” Vossmer says. “Take a few minutes to review some of the suggestions on the Cambridge Police website.”

For more direct training, Vossmer notes that the MIT Police offer two courses — “Streetwise and Safe” and “Rape Aggression Defense” — to members of the MIT community. Visit the MIT Police website to learn more.

The Cambridge Police have a helpful webpage with more tips on street safety and issues to help keep your person and property safe. Visit the CPD Crime Prevention and Safety Tips page.

“If you see something, say something”
Being aware does more than just improve your personal safety — it helps keep MIT safe for everyone. “You are the eyes and ears of this community,” Vossmer says. “If you see suspicious activity, report it immediately.”

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