Despite being located in New York City and being neighbors with Harlem, Columbia is a very safe place. Students generally feel safe walking through campus or the surrounding neighborhood of Morningside Heights at night. This is due in part to the visible presence of both the NYPD and Columbia Public Safety on and around campus. Additionally, Columbia offers escort and transportation options for those who don't feel safe walking home from wherever they may find themselves at night. However, most students realize that the key to avoiding crime in New York is common sense. Students know to avoid public parks and other places which may not be very safe, and trust their instincts about a situation in order to keep themselves safe.
The high standards set by Columbia's Public Safety are not met by Health Services. While the health center generally gets the job done, the frustrating and confusing hours and scheduling system make going to the doctor a very complex experience. Luckily, for emergency situations, Columbia offers CAVA, a student-run volunteer ambulance fleet whose main task is generally taking overly intoxicated students to nearby St. Luke's Hospital. St. Luke's is also a good option for students who have an urgent medical situation during hours in which Columbia Health Services is not open.