Emergency number across the USA: 911
This number to connect you to emergency services for any situation.
For non-emergency government information and services, dial 311. Calls to 311 are answered by a live operator, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and services are provided in more than 170 languages.
Important New York City Numbers:
- Mayor's Office for International Affairs (212) 319-9300
- Police Department Headquarters (646) 610-5000
- Fire Department Headquarters (718) 999-2000
- Domestic Abuse Hotline (800) 799-7233
- Department of Health & Mental Hygiene 311
- Department of Parks & Recreation 311
Report Child Abuse: To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the State Central Register at (800) 342 3720 or go online at: www.nyc.gov/311. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
Family and Domestic Violence: If someone is in immediate danger, call 911. To reach the New York City Domestic Violence Hotline call (800) 621-4673; TDD (866) 604-5350) or go online at: www.nyc.gov/311
Towing: To locate towed vehicles at Pier 76, call (212) 971-0771 24 hours. Towing Hotline (24 hours) (718) 706-6062
Safety in New York
The United States and its most visited city are generally safe and crime-targeting tourists are rare. Unfortunately, bad things can happen anywhere. Here are the most common scenarios and how to best protect yourself:
- Pickpockets and Bag snatchers: Wear your valuables as close and as inaccessible as possible on your body. If you are carrying a bag with a strap, wear the strap across your body, not loosely off your shoulder. If you place your bag under the table in a restaurant or café, the easiest safety trick is to simply fasten the strap to a chair, or your leg. Never leave your valuables unattended, not even in the hotel or in the car.
- Robbery: Avoid lonely streets after hours, even if it means a detour or a taxi ride. Avoid being intoxicated as that makes you an easy target. Fighting back is definitely not recommended as that can lead to violent crime.
- Rape: Sexual assault and rape are a problem in New York City, although far less than the relatively lawless days of the 1970s. However, normal precautions should be taken - avoid deserted areas at night, stay with a friend, and try not to become overly intoxicated. That said, these crimes should never be tolerated and are never the victim's fault.
- Homophobic, Religious and Racist Hate Crime: Criminal offenses against a person or property motivated by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity continue to be a problem. Again, avoid deserted areas at night, stay with a friend, and try not to become overly intoxicated. Also, report these crimes to the police.
- Terrorist Activity: The worst terrorist attack on American soil took place on September 11th, 2001 when synchronized planes crashed into the World Trade Center's twin towers in Manhattan. The attack killed 2,753 people and was an act by Al-Qaeda. While this event and others are remembered annually, terrorist activity is still unusual, and attacks are unlikely.
- Car-Related Crime: "Smash and grab" attacks on tourist vehicles are a potential risk. The best prevention is simply not to leave any bags or valuables in plain sight. Lock them in the trunk or take them with you, even when only leaving the car for a few minutes. Be aware of the neighbourhood you are parking in and use supervised parking or garages for better protection.
- Credit Card Fraud: Unfortunately, credit card fraud is on the rise in most cities. Keep your card within eyesight when paying, hide your PIN number, and avoid ATMs if you feel uncomfortable.
In case of an emergency, contact the authorities at once by dialling 911. Also get in touch with the tourist support services offered by the embassies.