Personal Safety Guidelines
Your personal safety during your stay in Florence is a priority. While our mission is to provide academic excellence and opportunities for intercultural exchange and outreach, we also realize that these objectives cannot be reached if you are not physically well and safe.
A few suggestions for a safe semester:
- Drinking alcohol is the number one threat to your safety. “Binge-drinking” impairs your judgment and causes you to behave in unsafe ways. While under the influence, you may decide to take dangerous risks such as walk home alone late at night, lose track of your belongings in a club, or go home with someone you don’t know well. Further, being drunk in Italy is not looked well upon. Bar crawls and drinking games are not part of the Italian culture. Italians do not drink to get drunk, but rather may savor a fine bottle of wine with dinner. Drinking alcohol is associated with a meal, and done in moderation.
- Theft and pick pocketing are common occurrences in Italy and in any crowded European city, so be careful with your belongings. Keep careful watch on your bag and wallet at all times. Do not hang your purse or jacket with wallet on the back of a chair. Particularly problematic are crowded public areas such as bus and train terminals, internet cafes, tourist sites, restaurants, and clubs.
- Unwanted attention on the street or in public places is a nuisance. Follow the lead of local women who do not respond or look in the direction of the offender. If you are followed or feel unsafe, go into the nearest bar, restaurant, store, etc. and ask for assistance. If this occurs on a bus or train, ask the driver or ticket controller to help you. Most of all use your common sense. It is unsafe to walk home late at night alone.
- The Syracuse Florence emergency card should always be with you in your wallet. The emergency phone number is listed on the card and can be called at anytime in the case of a true emergency.
- In general, maintain the same safe behaviors you would if you were in a large city in the United States. Florence, and Italy, can give the appearance of being safer, however, the same crimes that happen in the States can happen here as well. Use your city street smarts, and stay safe!
How to avoid being the victim of pick-pocketing:
- Use purses that zip close and do not hang them on the back of your chair in public places.
- Do not place your wallet in your back pocket. Instead, use front pockets, inside your jacket or use a money belt if possible.
- Be aware of strangers trying to distract you.
- Keep your belongings close to you at all times (in particular on the bus or train, at cafes, clubs, stations & pubs).
- Separate your cash, credit cards and place your debit and/or passport in a protected compartment.
- Wear a money belt if possible. No matter how distracted you might be, your valuables will be safe.
- When walking on the streets of Florence, you should always remember to put your bag over your shoulder closest to the wall (not the street), as motorino purse snatching is common.
Safety & Security: Policies and Statistics
It is Syracuse University’s policy to provide anyone, on request, with a printed copy of the University’s policies and procedures regarding campus security and safety, as well as crime rates and statistics for the most recent three-year period. A printed copy of Your Safety and Security at Syracuse University, a handbook that provides this information, is available at Syracuse Florence in Amy Kleine’s office. The University’s crime information is also posted on the U.S. Department of Education.