Technology that is in everyone’s pocket is breaking down barriers for students to communicate with safety officials, to look out for one another, and to take more ownership of their safety
Arlington, VA (PRWEB) November 20, 2014
Students at colleges and universities in 19 states now have access to a smartphone app, called LiveSafe, that is transforming the way students and campus safety officials prevent and respond to sexual assault, crime, and mental health crises.
Suspects are being caught, arrests are being made and students are virtually walking each other home at a diverse set of campuses including Georgetown University, University of Delaware, West Virginia University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Arizona State University and Kansas State University.
The smartphone app empowers students to report suspicious activity before an incident occurs and in the mode that digital natives feel most comfortable – silently via text and anonymously if they choose. Students may attach photos, videos and audio files.
Its “SafeWalk” GPS feature enables students to invite friends or family members to keep a digital eye on them as they travel on and off campus – and summons campus safety officials and 9-1-1 with tap of an icon.
“Technology that is in everyone’s pocket is breaking down barriers for students to communicate with safety officials, to look out for one another, and to take more ownership of their safety,” said Jenny Abramson, CEO of LiveSafe.
Campus safety officials are also reporting that student communication of actionable tips is increasing in significant numbers and in critical ways. About half of the tips are anonymous. One university has seen a 10-fold increase in tips since the app was launched and others report receiving several tips a week that they believe would not have be shared without the texting function and anonymity option.
Since the start of the 2014 fall semester, LiveSafe has enabled:
- Georgetown University to arrest a man who had flashed a student studying in a common area.
- The University of Delaware to help a student with a mental health issue receive support.
- West Virginia University to pursue tips about fires started and other civil disturbances after football games.
- Virginia Commonwealth University to stop an individual engaging in lewd behavior in a vehicle on campus.
“For this demographic, calling 911 is not something they do on a regular basis,” sad John Venuti, Police Chief of Virginia Commonwealth University. “We encourage them to let us know if they see something because we can’t address things we don’t know about.”
The app is free to download for anyone who wants to use the GPS-enabled SafeWalk feature. When campus administrators sign up to utilize the Command Dashboard, the cloud-based interface for safety officials to monitor campus activity, students can initiate real-time, discreet, two-way communication with those who can help when help is needed. Campuses also receive a robust set of analytics to help officials and administrators determine how to structure their crime prevention strategies and deploy their resources.