There are many resources on campus and in the community to keep you safe and healthy during your time in Tallahassee. As in any community, you should familiarize yourself with both these resources and what to avoid.
FSU’s Police Department promotes a safe and secure higher education environment while providing proactive services aimed at reducing crime.
Emergency & Non-Emergency Calls
In an emergency, dial 911. If you are on campus, your call will be routed to the FSU Police. If you dial 911 off campus you will be connected to the local consolidated dispatch and the nearest agency will respond.
To contact FSU police in a non-emergency situation for information or to make a report, dial 850-644-1234.
S.A.F.E. Connection (Student Alert Force Escort Connection) is a free service provided to FSU Students. S.A.F.E. Connection is sponsored by the Student Government Association and is an affiliated project with FSU Transportation and Parking Services. The service is currently limited to the FSU campus.
Travel around campus is available nightly, 7 days a week, from 7:00PM - 2:30AM when classes are in session. If you need a ride, please call (850) 644-SAFE (7233).
Blue Light Trail
The Blue Light Trail consists of over 400 strategically placed light poles equipped with emergency speaker phones and topped with strobe lights. If you are threatened, see anything suspicious or require any type of emergency assistance quickly, just push the emergency button to be connected with the FSU Police dispatcher.
You can also use any Blue Light call box on campus to call the FSU police for an emergency, non-emergency, or S.A.F.E. Connection ride on campus.
The FSU police also provide self-defense classes, a Citizen’s Police Academy course, Sexual Violence Prevention information, and more, which can be found at police.fsu.edu/services.
The SeminoleSAFE app is your official mobile safety tool from Florida State University. It is built from a collaboration of multiple campus entities including FSU Police, Emergency Management, Dean of Students, University Health Services, Student Counseling Center, Environmental Health & Safety, Housing, Athletics, Facilities and many more.
Regardless if you are student, faculty, staff, alumni, sports fanatic or a friendly neighbor, SeminoleSAFE has something for you!
FSU Guardian App
FSU Guardian is a free and optional personal safety service that is available to anyone with a valid FSU ID. Students must be currently enrolled and have started classes to be able to register for the service.
With this app you can:
- Build Your personal Profile in Advance – Input your personal information in so an emergency you can use the app to call for help without having to answer questions.
- Communicate with Law Enforcement Dispatcher Through Text – This is a good option for international students and scholars who might be more comfortable with reporting incidents in writing in an emergency situation or someone who might have a medical condition that limits speech during an emergency (like a seizure disorder).
- Set a Safety Timer – Notify people you trust to check in on you if you are alone or in an unfamiliar place.
- Manage & Message Your Guardians – Invite family, friends, or others to be your Guardian, and communicate with them within the app as needed.
- Easy Emergency Communication – Call safety officials directly for help if you are in trouble and send text tips – including photos – if you see something suspicious.
FSU Guardian can be accessed through the SeminoleSAFE app.
FSU ALERT is Florida State University's emergency notification system. If there is a condition which threatens the health and safety of persons on campus, university officials will warn the campus community through a variety of methods.
Ensure that your U.S. cell phone number is updated in your www.my.fsu.edu account in order to receive important messages from campus. If extreme weather or power outages may affect whether or not FSU opens, information will be posted online at alerts.fsu.edu.
Most international students generally report having a very positive experience at FSU. Although we hope this will always be the case, FSU wants to be responsive to any inappropriate behavior that may be witnessed or experienced. Students are encouraged to report any sexual misconduct, concerning behaviors, accessibility issues, acts of discrimination, or hazing online at report.fsu.edu.
Additionally, the Dean of Students also supports students who have become a victim of crime through the Victims Advocate Program.
Avoid Scams & Phishing
Scammers try to take advantage of anyone they can, and will do so by various means: phone calls, emails, postal mail, online (PayPal/eBay/Craigslist/social media) with convincing threats or rewards and instructions for you to withdraw money and send it to an outside account. Scammers may use your name or even claim you were involved in criminal activity. They will say anything to try to confuse, scare, and persuade you.
Scams and frauds are not uncommon. Everyone needs to be suspicious of anyone who asks for credit card or bank information, threatens action from law enforcement, offers something that sounds too good to be true (like a job or item for an unreasonably low price), or insists on immediate action. While anyone can be the target of a scam or fraud, international students and scholars are particularly susceptible. This is because you have an extra layer of concern about maintaining legal status and you may be less likely to question the legitimacy of a call or offer if it sounds official.
If anyone calls you with threats from law enforcement, or suggesting that you are in trouble unless you provide payment or confidential information, hang up! If you become worried about ignoring the call, stay on the line but go to the FSU police department, to a trusted friend, to the CGE, etc. for help BEFORE following any instructions to withdraw money, purchase gift cards, etc.
Stay alert and be sure your friends are also aware of potential scams. If you let us know about a scam, we can alert other students and scholars.
To avoid scams:
- Do not answer phone calls from numbers you don’t know – let the call go to voicemail.
- Do not reply or click on links in texts from someone you don’t recognize.
- If you receive a voicemail from someone who sounds like law enforcement, do not respond. Call 850-644-1234 (FSU Police) directly!
- If you receive a voicemail, text, or email from someone who says they are a government official – ignore it! You should be immediately suspicious of a call from anyone claiming to be a representative of:
- IRS (Internal Revenue Service – the U.S. tax collection agency)
- Social Security Administration
- U.S. Marshals Service
- Any other U.S. or state government office
- If you receive a voicemail, text, or email from a bank, organization, or agency you do know – do not respond – contact them directly using methods provided in statements or bills.
- If you receive information about a job offer, lottery winnings, stimulus check, grant or loan that you did not apply for – ignore it!
- Never give your Social Security Number (SSN) to anyone who is not employing you or opening a bank account you requested that they open.
- Never provide someone your login credentials or enter them at an unknown site.
- Never wire transfer money, provide gift cards, or otherwise pay unknown individuals or entities.
- Always contact friends, relatives, or colleagues directly at a phone number you know is legitimate if you receive emails, texts, or phone calls indicating that they have a serious problem and need money to resolve it.
- FSU will never ask for your FSUID and password – read more about this on the ITS website.
- Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry
Government entities will send you regular paper mail if there are any problems with your taxes, immigration status, etc. NOT email, phone calls, or texts.
- Report all scams at: www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
- Victim of a scam?
- Call the FSU Police: 850-644-1234
- Contact FSU Victim’s Advocate Office: (850) 644-7161
- Contact Florida Division of Consumer Services helpline: 877-693-5236
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-382-4357 or online
- Contact your financial institutions if money is involved or there is the possibility of identity theft
- Place a fraud alert on your file with the credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) if there is the possibility of identity theft
For more information:
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Common Scams
- Better Business Bureau 2018 Scam Tracker Risk Report
- Florida’s Division of Consumer Services Consumer Helpline: 1-877-693-5236
- Federal Trade Commission: Scammers go after international students’ money, information on avoiding scams and recent scams and how to recognize warning signs. Sign up for FTC consumer alert emails here.
- Review phishing information, examples, and tech security tips from FSU ITS online:
Keeping Yourself Safe
Crime Prevention in the Community
As in any community, there are areas of Tallahassee that experience greater levels of crime and these should generally be avoided, particularly at night and when walking alone. The city police have a regularly updated, searchable map that shows all reports they receive – www.talgov.com/gis/tops/default.aspx.
Keep in mind that many reports are traffic accidents, and not everything reported to the police leads to an arrest or conviction. For instance, if someone reports that their laptop has been stolen and then finds that their roommate borrowed it, that report would still show up on this map as a burglary. Areas where there are several violent crimes and drug violations reported, though, should be avoided.
The Tallahassee Police Department also has a very comprehensive, helpful list of precautions you can take to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a crime at www.talgov.com/publicsafety/tpd-prevention.aspx.
The FSU Fire Department has recommendations on fire extinguishers and smoke alarms at www.talgov.com/publicsafety/tfd.aspx. The American Red Cross has detailed fire prevention checklist and fact sheets. Their top tips are:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
- Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
- If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
The most frequent weather-related issue you may experience in Tallahassee is flooding. During the summer, daily afternoon rain is common, and a heavy rainfall during this time may cause streets, low-lying neighborhoods, and waterways to flood temporarily. Always avoid walking or driving through flooded streets, sidewalks, and parking lots. If your home is on a bottom floor or in an area prone to flooding, learn how to prepare and consider purchasing, prior to a flooding event, renters’ insurance that covers flooding and damage caused by storms.
Tallahassee can also be impacted by the annual hurricane season from June 1 to November 30. Hurricanes can cause flooding, downed trees, and lengthy power outages. You should prepare for hurricane season before June 1 by purchasing or storing the following:
- A two-week supply of non-perishable, canned or boxed food that does not require cooking
- Clean storage containers that can be filled with at least 14 gallons of water per person
- A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries for both;
- Consider purchasing a portable, external battery pack/charger or solar charger for your phone
- A watertight container suitable for storing and bringing your immigration and identity documents with you (Including 1-20/DS-2019 and your passport)
- Renters’ insurance that will cover damage or loss caused by a hurricane or named storm
- Check the FSU Alerts page for all the latest recommendations on staying safe (including mandatory evacuation requirements, shelter in place plans, or the possibility of a shelter on campus).
In addition, you should:
- Have a plan for a place to stay outside of Tallahassee and a way to get there in advance of the storm, if needed or preferred
- Have a plan to notify family and friends of your safety and location, if your ability to call or message is limited
- Take pictures of every room in your home in case you must make an insurance claim later so you have documentation of your personal belongings.
More information regarding preparing for hurricanes can be found at emergency.fsu.edu/resources/hazards/tropical-storms-hurricanes, www.haveahurricaneplan.com/guide.pdf or www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
No one anticipates experiencing an accident or illness that leaves them unable to communicate their wishes or manage their own financial affairs, but occasionally this happens. Individuals who have written health care advance directives will provide their friends or family a means of knowing what their wishes are.
The Florida Bar has free information available regarding advance directives and related legal issues. Have all legal documents, life insurance, and financial account information in a watertight container in a safe place known by those you have assigned to make decisions on your behalf, should you become debilitated.