Safety Advisories

Please be advised that the Hilltop Campus area has experienced an uptick in catalytic converter thefts. Toyota Priuses are the most common vehicle being targeted right now, although several have been stolen from various other makes and models. These thefts are taking place during the day and night and often in public parking lots. 

The reason is the value of the metals used in the manufacturing of the catalytic converters. Catalytic converters contain platinum, rhodium, and palladium. The metals are expensive, and thieves sell the converters to scrap yards for several hundred dollars per piece, depending on the size of the converter and the current rate on the metals inside it. It can cost on average up to $2,000 to replace a catalytic converter and it is illegal to drive your car without one. The resulting gap in your exhaust system also makes the car run poorly until it is fixed.

You’ll notice a loud rumbling or roaring sound as soon as you turn on the engine if your catalytic converter is missing. This gets louder when you hit the gas. The exhaust is not working properly, so the vehicle also drives rougher than usual, often with a sense of sputtering as you change speed. Go to the back of the car and look underneath. The catalytic converter is a round canister that connects two pieces of piping in the exhaust. You will see a gaping space in the middle of your exhaust if the converter is missing, and you will likely see signs of the piping being cut away.

The rate of catalytic converter theft varies depending on the current prices of the metals inside it. Price increases typically result in an increase in thefts. Thieves look for easy targets when it comes to catalytic converter theft, and a few simple steps help make your vehicle a less likely target:

  • Always park in well-lit areas when possible.
  • If you have a personal garage, keep your car in the garage with the door closed when the vehicle is not in use. 
  • Park close to a building entrance or to the nearest access road when parking in a public lot. This is helpful due to the increased amount of pedestrian traffic in those areas.
  • In addition, security devices are available that attach to the converter, making it harder to steal. Having the converter welded in place also makes it more difficult to remove. You may also engrave your VIN number onto your catalytic converter to make it easier to identify in case it does get stolen. 

As some of our community have already noticed, it appears that the USF Lone Mountain Campus is now home to two coyotes. We have had no reports of aggressive behavior by these animals. Use the links below to learn more information:

The University of San Francisco wants you to feel safe and be safe as you walk around campus and through the neighborhoods of San Francisco. Although the crime rate is very low on the USF Campus, opportunistic crimes can occur from time to time, and risks may increase when students venture off campus.

To help prevent becoming a victim of crimes such as theft or assault, please follow these tips:

  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. This involves being aware of people acting suspiciously.
  • Don’t wear headphones or earbuds that prevent you from hearing someone walking behind you.
  • Be mindful of your environment when having your phone and other technology out while in open and public spaces. 
  • Walk with purpose and with your head up.
  • Safety in numbers — walk with others, on populated streets.
  • Keep valuables, jewelry, and electronics out of sight.
  • Keep your purse or bag close to your body.
  • Take care using cell phones in public, they are commonly targeted by thieves.
  • Walk in well-lit areas or carry a flashlight.
  • Trust your intuition! If something feels weird, trust your gut and change the situation.
  • If adventuring alone, we recommend leaving your plan/schedule with a friend/roommate who can check in on you.

Please report any suspicious activity in and around campus immediately to the USF Department of Public Safety at (415) 422-4201. Suspicious activity is any action or behavior that suggests a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. For emergencies, call (415) 422-2911

Emergency phones are located throughout campus, and the Department of Public Safety provides safety escorts.

Visit the Public Safety website for crime prevention tips and to view the USF Daily Crime and Fire Log.


Please be advised a temporary ban on hoverboards and similar battery-charged transportation devices is in now in effect for all USF campus locations. This includes hoverboards, self-balancing scooters, battery-operated scooters, and other similar devices. This ban has been put in place due to the number of safety concerns associated with spontaneous combustions of hoverboards and personal injuries caused by rider falls and collisions. Because of these community safety concerns the use, possession, or storage of these devices anywhere on campus is now prohibited. If you own one of these devices, please ensure that you do not bring it to campus when returning for the fall semester.

Once the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has concluded its review on these devices, USF Administration will revisit its position on this ban. A formal statement on hoverboard safety concerns and related studies from the CPSC can be found on their website.

Scooters are a sustainable mode of travel and are allowed on university roadways, but are not allowed inside university-operated facilities. Scooters can be secured at designated outdoor bike lock areas or inside the secured bike storage room in Lone Mountain East, Building 2. The storage of scooters inside facilities not only pose a potential fire hazard, but can also become an obstacle when trying to evacuate.

According to The National Fire Protection Association:

  • Damaged or defective batteries can overheat, catch fire, or explode
  • Lithium-ion battery fires give off toxic gasses and they burn extremely hot
  • Only purchase and use devices, batteries, and charging equipment that are listed by a nationally recognized testing lab and labeled accordingly
  • Always follow the instructions from the manufacturer
  • Only use the battery and the charger that were designed for, and came with, the device
  • Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged, and only charge one device or device battery at a time to prevent overloading the circuit
  • Keep batteries at room temperature when possible — do not charge them at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C)
  • Do not store batteries in direct sunlight or inside hot vehicles, and keep them away from children and liquids
  • Store e-bikes, e-scooters, and batteries away from exit doors and anything that can get hot or catch fire
  • Only have device repairs performed by a qualified professional
  • Do not put lithium-ion batteries in the trash — recycling is always the best option

Contact Facilities Management at (415) 422-6464 for battery recycling questions

While riding scooters on campus, riders must be constantly aware of their surroundings and be mindful and respectful of others in their immediate path. Depending on the terrain, weather conditions, and community presence, defensive riding and slower speeds may be required and expected. Riders are expected to exercise care and courtesy at all times.

While riding on the public roadway, be aware of distracted drivers or drivers who may not be able to see you. Remember, scooter sidewalk riding is illegal pursuant to the California Vehicle Code Section §21235(g) and poses a significant risk to pedestrian and scooter rider safety. Specifically, please be aware of our pedestrian neighbors in and surrounding Main Campus.

Here are some safety tips when riding:

  • Inspect the scooter before your ride
  • Wear a helmet
  • Ride solo (never ride tandem)
  • Don't use your phone while driving
  • Slow down before looking back or turning
  • Keep your eyes on the road
  • Keep both hands on the handlebar
  • Avoid cracks, uneven road surfaces, or small objects in the road
  • Avoid riding in bad weather conditions
  • Avoid riding in pedestrian areas