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Officer Roberts from the UPenn Police department waits outside Smokey Joes as people begin to leave at around 2am on Sunday morning. Credit: Shreyans Bhansali

Penn’s location near the center of urban Philadelphia offers access to a ton of city resources and easy transportation. But as with any urban center, it is important to know how to best keep yourself safe. Penn’s Division of Public Safety works 24 hours with a force of over 100 police officers to guard us — in addition to the Philadelphia Police Department — and they offer many safeguards to students and faculty on campus. 

Here are some tips you should follow to stay out of harm’s way:

Register Your Cell Phone with UPennAlert

UPennAlert is Penn’s own real-time notification system that spans campus-wide which warns students, faculty, staff and visitors about any danger. The alerts are tailored to the community by location and role on campus to make sure the message gets out to those who need to know. You can register your cell phone or email address to receive alerts through Penn InTouch.

Avoid Walking Alone at Night

The Penn police force watches over campus 24 hours a day, but students should always remain in groups when walking at night. Coordinate plans with some of your new floormates, or utilize Penn’s walking and driving escort services. Students can request a walking escort around campus anytime by dialing 215-898-WALK, or a University van ride at 215-898-RIDE from 6 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.

Call MERT If You or a Friend Needs Emergency Care

Penn’s Medical Emergency Response Team is a student-run service organization that is dedicated to giving emergency medical help to anyone on campus. If you or a friend is injured or in need of medical help, MERT can provide assistance and transportation 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. year round, with extra operating hours during NSO. All MERT responders are required to honor patient confidentiality. Also, Penn’s Medical Amnesty Policy insures that any student reporting or in need of medical help due to an alcohol or drug overdose will not be subject to discipline by the University. Dial 215-573-3333 to have a DPS dispatcher connect you with a MERT responder.

Know the Penn Police Emergency Hotline

When faced with any emergency on campus, the Penn Police are there to help. Save the Penn Police emergency number on your cell phone, at 215-573-3333. DPS also has set up blue-light emergency phones at various locations on campus. The phones are housed in a yellow cover with blue lights on top, and they immediately call the DPS dispatch center when lifted — whether the caller is able to speak into the receiver or not. 

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