Safety and Security

Safety is a common concern for international visitors. U.S. movies shown around the world display an unrealistic amount of violence. Because of these and other media depictions of life in general in the U.S., many international visitors have unecessary heightened concerns about safety. It is, however, necessary to be careful about safety anywhere.

Basic keys to safety in unfamiliar places are knowledge and prevention. With sufficient knowledge about how to protect yourself and your property, and how to avoid taking unnecessary risks, it is possible to better prevent being a victim of crime. Common sense safety behaviors include these precautions.

In the event of an emergency (medical, crime, or fire)

Call 911 You can dial 911 from any phone. 911 is the nationwide emergency number. Be ready to report details, beginning with the nature of the emergency and the exact location (address)

Crime Prevention

  • Never carry large sums of money. Never tempt a thief by displaying money in public. All large amounts of money brought from your home country should be deposited in a bank shortly after arriving in the USA.
  • Never leave valuable things visible in a car. Items like luggage, money, cellphones, computers, and other electronics are tempting to criminals and easy to steal. If needed, hide valuables in the trunk of the car.
  • There are pickpockets in any large city in the world. Pickpockets are skilled at identifying vulnerable people who may be displaying valuables, and then coming close enough to steal the valuables without being noticed. Handbags should be kept closed; wallets should be protected. Bags or backpacks left unattended may be stolen.
  • Report any incidents of robbery or harassment on campus to the Campus Police by using the blue courtesy phones located around campus. Call 911 for EMERGENCIES whether on-campus or off- campus.
  • Some areas of San Diego are safer than others. Check with friends about the areas to avoid. There is a difference in Day Safety and Night Safety: some places are safe during daylight, but less safe at night.
  • There is safety in numbers in the city, especially at night. Going out with friends is safer than going out alone. When someone knocks on the door, make sure you know who it is before opening the door. Keep curtains closed at night and when no one is home, so people cannot look inside.
  • Always lock the door and windows of the house/apartment/room and car, even if leaving for only a minute.
  • Have keys ready upon entering your house or apartment.
  • Be cautious about giving out a personal address or telephone number to unfamiliar people.
  • Always remember to dial 911 for fire, police, or ambulance services. Keep this number near the phone.

Emergency Preparedness

We face the danger of wildfires and earthquakes resulting in and power outage in Southern California.  It is therefore imperative that our campus members are ready, trained to respond, and know what actions to take to recover from an emergency or crisis event.

Campus leaders will use this system to notify you in the event of an emergency affecting campus.  For more information on emergency preparedness, please visit

Prepare for 72 hours. Experts advise that staff, faculty and students prepare to be on their own for up to 72 hours should an emergency or disaster occur.  Emergency Supplies should include food, water and other supplies. For a complete list, please visit:

See more resources for Emergency Preparedness on the IFSO Emergency Page

Earthquake Preparedness

California is vulnerable to earthquakes. Here are a few points to remember during an earthquake:

  • If there is an earthquake, get under something, such as a desk or table. Your back should be to the window.
  • Protect your face, and try to make your body as small as possible.
  • If you are outside, try to move to an open area away from trees, power lines, or objects, which could fall.
  • If you are in an automobile, stop in an open area if possible.
  • If you are home, check utility lines and appliances for damage that could cause a fire. Do not touch electrical wires.
  • Turn on your radio for information.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks. Although most of these are smaller than the main shock, some may be large enough to cause additional damage or injuries.

Most people can survive an earthquake and minimize its damage simply by becoming aware of potential hazards and taking some basic earthquake preparedness measures. Prepare an earthquake kit with food and water, flashlight, radio, extra batteries, and a first aid kit.

Since earthquakes strike without warning, it’s important to act now! The longer one waits, the greater the risk. Experts know that damaging earthquakes are coming but they don’t know when. Knowing that you know what to do (and what not to do) before, during, and after a quake, however strong, will assist in keeping you safe.

For more information about earthquake preparedness, visit:

Receive Notifications

Registration for emergency notifications is voluntary and open to international scholars. Register online for UCSD emergency notifications (you will receive phone or text messages to numbers you specify).

Registration for San DIego emergency notifications is voluntary and open to international scholars. Register online for San Diego County emergency notifications (you will receive phone or text messages to numbers you specify).

You can also download SD Emergency to your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet to get critical emergency information wherever you are. The app is designed to keep people informed and safe throughout events likely to affect the region, such as wildfires, or potential threats, such as damaging earthquakes or terrorist events.

Campus Safety Escort Service

The UCSD Campus Police provides escort service (someone to accompany you) to and from campus locations every night.

Safety escort service is offered 365 days a year from sunset to 1 a.m.

Call (858) 534-9255 or (858) 534-WALK.

Contact Us

International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO)
(858) 246-1448

Monday through Friday
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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