Suspicious Package Checklist

If you see a suspicious package or envelope that does not belong, proceed with caution. The contents of the package could be dangerous. Use the following suspicious package checklist to help you determine whether or not the package or envelope is a potential threat and respond accordingly.

Letter and Parcel Bomb Recognition

What to look for:

  • Foreign mail, air mail, and special deliveries.
  • Restrictive markings such as “CONFIDENTIAL” or “PERSONAL”.
  • Excessive postage.
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses and incorrect titles.
  • Misspellings of common words.
  • Oily stains, discoloration on the package, or strange odor.
  • Strange sounds.
  • Excessive weight.
  • Rigid, lopsided, or uneven envelopes.
  • Excessive tape or string.
  • Visual distractions.
  • No return address.

Handling Suspicious Packages

What to do:

  • DO NOT open or shake it.
  • DO NOT carry or show to others.
  • DO NOT bring it to the Police Department.
  • DO NOT sniff, touch or taste.
  • DO alert others in the area.
  • Leave the area, close doors, and prevent others from entering by using signs or guarding.
  • Putting as much distance as possible between yourself and the package is the safest precaution.
  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Call the CU Public Safety’s Emergency Line right away:
    • Morningside Campus - 212-854-5555
    • Manhattanville Campus – 212-853-3333
    • CUIMC Campus – 212-305-7979
  • Create a list of persons in the room where the package was received.

View this USPS Suspicious Mail or Packages poster for helpful visual instructions.

flyer with information and tips for suspicious packages