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Washington, DC Safety Information

Washington, DC Safety Information - Pennsylvania Avenue Evacuation Route

Learn about the agencies that keep us safe, and good tips to follow during your visit

The safety of our visitors is our top priority. Destination DC works closely with the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Metropolitan Police Department and other local and federal government agencies to understand and communicate safety messages on behalf of the tourism community. Here is some helpful information as well as links and important phone numbers. 

DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) leads the planning and coordination of homeland security and emergency management efforts to ensure that the District of Columbia is prepared. HSEMA is a resource for:

  • Information about emergency evacuations. There are 19 evacuation routes out of the city. Look for marked signs or find a route based on your location.
  • AlertDC, the District’s emergency notification system. Visitors and residents can sign up to receive alerts via e-mail or text message. Tune in to Cable Channels 13, 16, or local news to also receive updates.

WMATA Washington, DC Metrobus & US Capitol

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) oversee safety of DC’s public transit system. MTPD police officers have jurisdiction throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia and officers provide a variety of law enforcement and public safety services on the Metrorail and Metrobus systems in the region. Visitors are encouraged to report suspicious activity by calling 202-962-2121 or texting MyMTPD (696873).

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser is committed to addressing safety concerns. Some of her initiatives include:

  • Installation of more than 1,200 security cameras
  • Deploying more than 1,200 body-worn cameras to officers
  • Forming a robbery task force
  • Training and recruitment of law enforcement agents

Follow these general safety guidelines:

  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not accept packages from strangers.
  • Do not leave luggage unattended.
  • Promptly report unusual behavior, suspicious or unattended packages and strange devices to the police or security personnel.
  • Plan evacuation routes in case of an emergency.

Traveling safely to Washington, DC:

Medical care:

Additional Washington, DC resources:

Local news: