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Residential Security & Safety

Keeping Our Community Safe


Our priority is to keep residents safe.  With your help, we can strengthen the safety and security of our residential community.  

The security and housing operations team within Housing & Residential Services are committed to providing a safe and secure housing environment that also supports resident wellbeing. Below, please find helpful security tips and information for undergraduate residents. 

Any security-related questions regarding the residence halls may be directed to housingsecurity@mit.edu.  In the event of an emergency, please contact MIT Police at (617) 253-1212 or dial 100 from any MIT phone.   
 

The Basics

Please help secure your residence hall by observing the following:

  • Don’t forget to tap your MIT ID each time you enter the residence hall.
     
  • Refrain from placing belongings in front of doors and windows.  
     
  • Keep the stairwells, as well as all ingresses and egresses, clear to allow full building access, especially in the event of an emergency.
     
  • To prevent unauthorized access, do not prop open building doors or windows, including your bedroom door.
     
  • Report suspicious tampering with physical security devices (doors, locks, etc.) to your House Operations Manager, and to housingsecurity@mit.edu.

Tailgating 

  • Do not provide residence hall access to others, including friends who don’t live in the building.  All non-residents must follow the guest policy (see below). 
     
  • As a reminder, don’t forget to tap your MIT ID each time you enter the residence hall, even if you're walking into the building with a group— everyone must tap, each time they enter.
     
  • If you’re unsure whether someone is a resident, do not provide access.
     
  • Report any suspicious activity to MIT Police (non-emergency telephone (617) 253-2996 and email mitpd@mit.edu).
     
  • Refusing to provide building access to someone (i.e. not holding a door) can be uncomfortable, but don’t forget this is your home.  Don’t hesitate to ask strangers to follow proper security protocols.

Safety Tips

Please take the following steps to secure your living space and to protect valuables:

  • To prevent unauthorized entry to your living space, lock your door and window whenever you leave your room or are sleeping (even briefly).
     
    • Pro Tip: Do not leave notes on your door or dry erase board announcing that you are away, or post your daily routine.|
       
  • Do not put your name and address on key rings (they’re undescriptive for a reason!).
     
  • Keep valuable items like cash, checks, credit cards, and jewelry locked in a safe place, and consider taking these items with you during extended times away from campus.
     
    • Pro Tip: Consider acquiring a securable footlocker or trunk, and lock up items when guests and visitors are in your living space.
       
  • When leaving your room, keep a light on to give the appearance that someone is in the space, and you’ll return to a lit room.
     
  • Identify high-value items and keep a record, including serial numbers. Register your laptop and bicycle with MIT Police.
     
  • Residents are strongly encouraged to obtain insurance to protect personal property as MIT assumes no responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged personal items.


Guests in Undergraduate Residences

  • With the exception of Express Guests, all guests must sign-in before going to the resident host’s room.  
     
  • Sign-in at the security desk.  In some residence halls, sign-in may be available via intercom if the guest is an MIT student with a valid MIT ID.
     
  • All non-MIT affiliated guests must sign-in at the security desk with a valid government-issued ID and provide their name, email address, and phone number for contact tracing purposes.
     
  • Guests not on the resident guest list must be escorted by the resident host when entering/exiting the building.
     
  • Residents may have overnight guests for up to three nights in a seven-day period, although non-MIT overnight guests are NOT allowed during the fall semester until after Registration Day.  For additional information regarding guests, please read the full Guest Policy.
     

Express Guests (certain residence halls only)

  • Must tap MIT ID upon entry
  • Do not need to sign-in
  • Resident host escort not required
  • Express guests cannot bring others into building
  • Available only between 8:01 am to 11:59 pm daily.  Outside of these hours, all guests must check-in at the security desk and be escorted by a resident host.
     
Guest Type Tap MIT MIT Check-in at Security Desk Escorted by Resident Host
Express Guest*      X    
Registered Guest (on guest list)*      X                X  
Unregistered Guest      X                X                X

*Only available between 8:01 am to 11:59 pm daily.  Outside of these hours, all guests must check-in at the security desk and be escorted by the resident host.

Community Partnership

Below, please find helpful information regarding the different types of security within the residence hall.

Allied Universal Security Staff

  • Available 8:00 am to 1:00 am (front desk)
  • Monitor traffic in/out of building
  • Provide emergency, lockout, check-in/out assistance
  • Resource for residents
  • Contact Unit-12 for emergency assistance at (617) 253-1500

Nightwatch

  • Available 12:00 am and 8:00 am (perform rounds nightly and stationed at front desk)
  • Contact Nightwatch Supervisor at (617) 253-1500  
  • Provide emergency, lockout, check-in/out assistance
  • Nightwatch can assist with connecting residents to the Dean on Call to provide wellness support as needed
  • Resource for residents

Below, please find tips, resources and other fire safety information to help ensure your safety and the safety of your residential community.  Please take a moment to review all of this information carefully as fire emergencies can occur unexpectedly with little or no warning. 

Fire Prevention 

  • There are simple steps you can take to help prevent fires in your living areas, which can be caused by many different things such as overloading an electrical outlet or forgetting to turn off the stove.  Please take a moment to review the fire safety information provided by the MIT Environment Health & Safety Office (EHS), as well as this virtual EHS fire safety training.  When in doubt, always double check whether you’ve left on a burner or forgot to unplug a device.  

If You Encounter a Fire

  • Stay calm and evacuate the area immediately according to the evacuation procedure outlined below. Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless it is necessary to do so for you to escape. If an alarm is not already sounding, activate the nearest fire alarm pull station as you evacuate or, if this is not possible, yell “Fire” as you depart the building. For additional guidance, please review information on MIT’s Emergency Management website.  In short, evacuate as quickly as possible! 

Evacuation Procedure 

In the unlikely event of a fire, please follow the building evacuation procedure listed below: 

  1. Select the nearest exit
  2. Do not take the elevator
  3. Activate the manual fire alarm if not already sounding
  4. Travel along the right-hand side of corridors and stairwells
  5. If possible, direct yourself to the designated assembly locations* for your building (indoor or outdoor), and away from fire lanes. 
  6. Do not stand in front of the building entrance.  Firefighters require easy access to the building.
  7. If there is inclement weather, take shelter in nearby buildings wherever possible.
  8. Once the Cambridge Fire Department or staff from Housing & Residential Services give the ‘all clear,’ you may return to your room.

*Assembly locations are reported on the Emergency Evacuation Plan posted on each floor next to elevators and stairs.