Travel Safety

Travel Safety in Shanghai

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Try to minimize the use of headphones and other devices that can jeopardize your recognition of potential dangers.
  • Travel on streets where there is pedestrian traffic. During evenings, plan a route where streets are well lit. Avoid walking through road tunnels (pedestrian underpasses) on your own at night.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Travel in groups of two or more.
  • Let a roommate know your whereabouts.
  • Be aware of crowded areas to avoid pickpocketing.
  • Do not dress in a way that marks you as an affluent tourist. Expensive-looking jewelry, for instance, can draw the wrong attention.
  • Women should always be aware of purse snatchers when walking in public areas and at restaurants. Men should carry wallets in their front pocket. It is recommended you use bags which close with zippers.
  • Plan your route ahead of time and with the help of an NYU Shanghai staff member. Make sure you have transport back before you go out so that you never become stranded. Let a staff member know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Research the location of your destination and carry a map. Note street names and nearby landmarks. If you need help planning your trip or are unsure about the safety of the destination, please ask an NYU Shanghai staff member for help.
  • The metro does not run 24 hours a day. Check the Shanghai Metro Websites for timetables and specific times.
  • If a car approaches you, keep a safe distance.
  • Never accept a ride on your own from someone you have just met or do not know well, no matter how helpful or friendly that person may seem. Politely but firmly decline all such invitations.
  • Never accept a ride in a vehicle driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol. Politely but firmly decline all such invitations.
  • If you feel you are being followed, cross the street, look for an open store, yell out “FIRE,” or call to someone on the street as if you know them.
  • Do not buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. If you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.

Taking a Taxi

  • Be able to identify an illegal taxi. Legal taxis generally have a meter, a Taxi Sign on top of the car, and a Shanghai taxi driver's ID with the driver’s photo in the front window.
  • Always ask for a receipt (Fa Piao), just in case you forget something in the taxi.
  • All passengers traveling alone should not ride in the front seat and are also discouraged from engaging drivers in personal conversation.

ATM Safety

  • Use the ATM only during daylight hours.
  • Try to use bank ATMs only.
  • Look out for “shoulder surfers” and protect your PIN at all times.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash on your person.
  • Avoid counting or displaying money on the street.

Shanghai has a low crime rate, particularly for a major city, but petty crimes like pickpocketing do happen in crowded areas like train stations, markets, and busy streets. There are also a number of scams that specifically target foreigners and tourists.

The NYU Shanghai Department of Public Safety can be reached 24/7 by phone at +86-21-2059-5500. Public safety personnel will help you contact the nearest police and/or support services. Municipal emergency numbers are:

Police(警察): 110

Fire Department(消防局): 119

Ambulance(救护车): 120

Be Proactive! Your Safety Is In Your Hands.