Safety Measures NYC Has in Place For Active Shooter Scenarios

In light of the horrific events in Las Vegas, we at UrbanMatter wanted to take a moment make to address the importance of staying safe when out and about in NYC. We take great pride in supplying New Yorkers with all the information they may need to have an amazing night out, weekend or day trip, and unfortunately we feel that also includes publicizing those safety measures put in place and endorsed by city officials and the NYPD.

Knowing how to react in an active shooter scenario is vital – while the NYPD will act immediately on a call, it can take 3-5 minutes for them to get to the scene. However, the majority of active shooter scenarios end within 5 minutes of starting. A Study of Active Shooter Incidents  (2000-2013) conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice reveals that in 64 incidents with a discernible duration, 23 (35.9%) of these incidents ended in 2 minutes or less and 21 (32.8%) incidents ended in 2 to 5 minutes.


There are three crucial concepts to keep in mind in an active shooter scenario that you should be aware of. Some of these may seem common-sensical, but in moments of panic, it’s hard to have clear, rational thought. These steps are fluid based on the proximity of the shooter:

  1. Avoid (run/evacuate)
  • If you see a way to escape, run.
  • If possible, plan a route ahead of time and avoid using elevators or escalators.
  • If other people are around you and don’t want to move, you should still try to escape.
  • Leave all belongings behind, especially anything that could be mistaken for a weapon or explosive device.
  • Try to help others escape if you can.
  • If you know the location of the shooter, prevent others from entering the area.
  • When you are safe, call 911.

2. Barricade (hide)

  • If you find yourself unable to evacuate, barricade yourself in a place where the active shooter is least likely to find you.
  • Ideally, your barricade should provide ballistic protection as well as visual concealment. For instance, in an office setting, desks and cubicles will conceal you but won’t stop bullets. Seek out more substantial objects such as vending machines, furniture, or copy machines.
  • The barricade should not limit your movement potential.
  • Silence cell phones or devices that can make noise and remain quiet.

3. Confront (fight/take action)

  • If running or making a barricade isn’t an option, you must confront the shooter and attempt to incapacitate them.
  • If you’re in a group, try to make a plan of action.
  • Use anything you can find as a weapon.
  • Yell and act aggressively.

Once the cops arrive, make sure you’re not holding anything that could resemble a weapon and cooperate in any way you can with law enforcement.


For your reference, here are a few numbers you should know:

  • NYPD non-emergency line: 311
  • NYPD Crime Stoppers: 800-577-TIPS
  • NYPD Crime Stoppers (Spanish): 888-57-PISTA
  • NYPD Terrorism Hot-Line: 888-NYC-SAFE
  • FDNY General Number: 718-999-2000
  • FDNY EMS Command: 718-999-2770/1753

From the team at UrbanMatter, please be safe out there and look out for each other.


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