Campus Safety? There’s an App for That
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College has launched a new smartphone safety application called LiveSafe that is designed to help keep students safer both on and off campus. The voluntary mobile app service, which will supplement the College’s existing WAC Alerts emergency notification system, is designed to make it quick and easy for students to report incidents or tips directly to the College’s Office of Public Safety.
Washington College Director of Public Safety Jerry Roderick says he sees the app as one more way to monitor safety on campus and help students make good decisions about their personal safety and well being. “We like that this program extends its reach into town to locations frequented by our students,” he notes. “So it’s an extension of the safety provisions we have on campus. It also will gather data about incidents that we can use to keep our procedures and policies as up to date as possible.”
The LiveSafe mobile safety app links to a central Public Safety dashboard, so users can send information about problems and potential threats—everything from dangerous drinking and vandalism to theft, accidents and harassment. Through the app, users can send messages via text, along with pictures, video, and audio attachments. During regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), they also can engage in a live chat with Public Safety. Users can choose to report information anonymously or immediately send their caller ID and location upon placement of a call or message. Roderick stresses that in a true emergency the first call should always be to 911; there’s a button for that in the LiveSafe app.
Additionally, users can receive timely, important safety alerts and information sent by Public Safety. Other features include a GPS-tagged monitoring feature that users can activate to let friends and family see their location as they travel.
The College is offering the app not only to all Washington College students, but also to faculty, staff and visitors to campus. In addition, parents of Washington College students can download the LiveSafe app for free and use it as another tool to stay in touch with campus and their student(s). “This does not replace our WAC Alerts emergency notification system,” says Sarah Feyerherm, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs. “But it’s another way for parents to hear about what’s happening on campus, from weather information to reported crimes, if they choose to do so. We also see it as helpful for monitoring a student’s progress when they are on the road—when they are driving home in difficult weather conditions, for example.”
Washington College is among the first campuses to invest in the LiveSafe app. For more information, visit the LiveSafe website or read/watch media coverage of the company in the Washington Post and Fox News station WTTG.