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Health & Safety


In recent decades, crime rates have substantially decreased in Washington D.C., and the D.C. Metro area is regarded as a safe region.  Most crime in D.C. is highly concentrated in specific neighborhoods and a large percentage of crimes committed occur in only a handful of city blocks.  The district map is divided into four quadrants, and the Northwest (NW) and Southwest (SW) quadrants are generally considered safe areas, while the Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE) quadrants are considered unsafe.  The heavily trafficked parts of NW and SW D.C. (where you find most museums, restaurants, hotels, shops, Federal agencies, and memorials) have low crime-rates and are lovely, secure areas.

When living in Washington D.C., students should take the normal precautions they would take in any big-city environment.  Some standard city safeguards are:

  • Travel in groups
  • Do not walk home alone at night
  • Avoid high-crime neighborhoods
  • Avoid isolated areas; say in well-lit and highly trafficked areas
  • Be discreet with money
  • Always be aware of your surroundings/the people around you
  • Exude confidence/look like you know what you’re doing/walk with a purpose
  • Carry your cell phone with you and make sure it is charged
  • Program your cell phone with emergency phone numbers
  • Trust your instincts when a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable
  • Always carry some cash with you so you can take a taxi
  • Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable
  • Avoid putting headphones in both ears so that you can remain aware of your surroundings
  • Lock your doors and windows

For additional Washington D.C.-specific safety advice, explore these Washington D.C. university websites:

Whether on campus in Colorado or studying in Washington D.C., students should always practice general protocols to ensure their safety and well-being.  These practices include:

  • Get in the habit of using the ATM machine in the daytime; avoid using ATMs at night or using machines that are not in a well-lit location
  • Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you do not trust or someone you do not know
  • If you are of legal drinking age, know your limits with alcohol, do not overdrink, and be aware that alcohol consumption impairs your judgment
  • If you are of legal drinking age, do not leave your drink unattended and do not accept a drink from someone who you do not know or trust
  • Watch out for your friends and have your friends watch out for you
  • Never leave lit candles or incense unattended
  • Become familiar with the exit locations in your apartment building so that in the event of a fire or emergency, you know how to get out
  • Let someone know where you will be at all times (especially if you head out for a hike, bike ride, or to explore a new area); give someone your weekly schedule
  • Interning and taking classes in Washington D.C. is a demanding experience; be sure to eat and sleep well, do stress-reducing activities, and take care of your physical and emotional wellbeing
  • If you experience any form of harassment in the workplace, report it to CU in D.C. right away
  • Never accept a ride from someone you do not know
  • When approaching your residence or car, already have your keys in your hand; avoid making yourself a vulnerable target by having your head down and wasting time searching for keys
  • When walking by yourself, keep your expensive belongings, such as laptops and cell phones, hidden
  • Call 9-1-1 in the event of a serious emergency or crisis

The CU in D.C. Program takes student safety seriously and provides students with safety information and training before departure and upon arrival in Washington D.C.



Here is general information about health insurance coverage while in Washington D.C.:

  • CU in D.C. students have full-time student status, according to all of the CU systems, and so their health insurance coverage remains the same while in D.C.
  • For example, if students have the “Gold Plan,” they will continue to have that plan in D.C.
  • When students are outside of Colorado, and if they have the Gold Plan, they will be covered under what is called the “First Health” network; students can search online for First Health providers in the D.C. area if needed
  • The First Health coverage has a $250 deductible, $40 co-pays, and then 80% coverage after the deductible is met
  • For prescriptions while in D.C., students can either: a) get scripts filled in CO before departure and bring them to D.C., or b) fill them in D.C.; most pharmacies will accept the coverage under the CU plan, and the prescription plan is specifically called Express Script

If you need additional information or have more specific questions about health insurance coverage while in D.C., you can call the Wardenburg Patient Services number: 303-492-5107.



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