Next week when faculty, staff and students walk The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s campus, they will access something new to help them stay safe. UNCG is now on a growing list of universities that use the LiveSafe Smartphone app.

Previously adopted by Virginia Tech University, University of Kentucky, Yale University and Georgetown University, the LiveSafe app connects users directly to campus police via mobile device. A survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, Kristina Anderson, champions the app.

The app allows students to submit tips via text, audio and video attachments, check a safety map for regular updates about incidents on or near campus and chat live with safety officials. One of the most popular features on the app is an interactive tool called Safewalk. With Safewalk, students, faculty and staff can enable friends or family to watch them on screen while walking on or off campus through GPS location monitoring.

“LiveSafe provides an extra level of safety in and around campus,” says Assistant Chief of Police Paul Lester. “And it gives students, faculty and staff a place to report occurrences that in the past have not been especially easy.” Some things that have recently been reported include a water leakage in a campus building and various lost and found items. In fact a student recently reported a student’s wallet found at a shopping center off campus.

In the past students have used the campus blue lights – a security help phone that alerts emergency officials when a student makes a call. The blue lights will still be on campus but Lester sees the LiveSafe app as more enhanced, more personal and more efficient than the blue lights. Last academic year, campus police received only 105 blue light calls. Even in its launch phase this summer, LiveSafe has been used more than the blue lights were used throughout the entire past year.

Kristi Reese, a UNCG alumna and program manager at the UNCG Police Department, recalls what she did when she was a student, “When I was a student, I used to talk to my mom all the way from campus to Tate Street, so she knew I was safe. I would have loved to have had this app back then.”

First year Grad Student Ashley Rizzotto and her cohort April Gremillion have already used the app. “We’ve used it while walking at night, meeting up, and even taking the bus,” said Rizzotto. “I think it is going to be great for the campus.”

Lester and the UNCG Police team still urge students and faculty to call 911 first in the event of an emergency. If a user is unable to make a 911 call the LiveSafe app comes into play. The LiveSafe app comes equipped with emergency call features that enable location services to help emergency personnel locate the user.

“The most exciting part for everyone is that it makes it easier for all of us to respond to situations faster,” added Reese.

Students and faculty are encouraged to download the LiveSafe app before class starts next week. While the app is intuitive the UNCG police will be giving tutorials on the app as the school year begins.

For more information, visit the UNCG LiveSafe website at livesafe.uncg.edu/FAQ/. The LiveSafe app is available for free from the Apple App Store and from Google Play.

 

Story by Nancy Maingi, contributor
Photography by Martin W. Kane, UNCG University Relations