New Rave Guardian app aims to protect students

Emily Williams

The Rave Guardian campus safety system has been updated and will now be available as a smart phone app. Bill Homer, director of public safety services for Rave Mobile Safety, said the site has been configured, and the full transition to the new platform will take place Friday.

The previous system allowed students to call and activate a timer when walking to a destination and deactivate it when they arrived, allowing UAPD to monitor their safety. The new app also allows students to set a timer, but has the added benefit of GPS tracking.

“The goal is to offer students several ways to contact UAPD, and we hope that this app will provide one more way for them do so when they need assistance,” UAPD Sergeant John Hooks said.

The new app, which is available for both iPhones and Android devices, is different in that it allows students to create a network of “guardians” in addition to UAPD.

“The app has a feature that allows a ?student to have friends or family watch over them by allowing people of their choosing to see information that they share or post periodically,” Hooks said. “For example, if a student goes on a date, they can share information from time to time and let the people they have chosen know where they are, who they are with, how it’s going, etc.”

Guardians will be prompted to check in on a student if their timer has expired and hasn’t been turned off.

Hooks said the app can be used on and off campus and gives students the option to contact UAPD or 911. For on-campus emergencies, Hooks recommended students contact UAPD. Off campus, he said students should go directly to 911.

Once students have downloaded the app from an app store or by using the Guardian link on MyBama, they are prompted to enter personal information, which will be visible to UAPD dispatch.

Todd Piett, chief product officer at Rave Mobile Safety, said the new app was developed as a result of working with students and safety officials at some of the over 1,000 campuses they serve. Piett said one of the new features of the app allows students to make precautionary arrangements in case of emergency.

“[The app] is tied to Smart911, a service where you can opt to allow participating 9-1-1 centers to see the information you choose to share should you call for help,” Piett said. “For example, if you were travelling to Montgomery and were injured, 9-1-1 would immediately see your emergency contacts and could call your family. The data you choose to share is completely optional and only seen by 9-1-1 in the event you call them.”

Another feature of the app is the option to submit anonymous tips about campus safety via text messages or photos.

In addition to downloading and using the Rave Mobile Guardian app, Hooks encouraged students to be proactive about safety and not walk alone at night whenever possible.

“One simple way that students can be safer is to be more aware of their surroundings,” he said. “Simply paying attention to who and what is around them will make them less vulnerable to a ?would-be offender.”