University debuts app aimed at enhancing safety
A new app for the smartphone has been designed to promote and enhance the safety for students at UL Lafayette. The app, called the Rave Guardian Campus Safety App, is designed to ensure a better relationship between students on campus and the UL Lafayette police department.
The app consists of two main functions. A panic button is installed so that a student who may feel in danger can instantly report their situation to the campus police. The police will respond within minutes and try to assess the situation. It also includes an anonymous tip function that allows students to report any suspicious behavior to the campus police as well.
“The app is fairly new and a lot of universities like it,” said SGA president David Neef. “We wanted to see if we could take a look at it, and of course it’s an absolutely awesome program.”
The decision to install and promote the app was spearheaded by Neef and overwhelmingly passed by members of the SGA. The app is part of a concerted effort by Neef and the Big Three in particular, whose platform specifically focused on campus safety during their campaign last year.
“One of our big platforms was to promote the idea of safety on campus. At the beginning of last fall we went to the campus police police and asked them how we could do it; we really wanted to come up with an idea that could get to every student as much as possible,” said Neef.
Neef worked in conjunction with Police Captain Charles Gisclair, who had long had his eyes set on installing and distributing an app like this in an effort to increase campus safety.
“Part of our (University Police) philosophy is that we solve problems,” said Gisclair. “We’ve been involved heavily with student safety, and I’ve actually been watching Rave Guardian for several years.”
Another prominent feature of the app is the safety timer, in which a designated time is set in which you plan to be back from wherever you are. If you fail to arrive at the appropriate time, it will be immediately seen by your guardian, who the user has previously listed as a contact on the app.
The user has several chances to ensure that the timer does not go off, so that only those who truly need help will trigger the alarm. Rave Guardian is not limited only to campus, either. The app will work anywhere within the country, and if an alarm is set, University Police will work with the police in wherever you happen to be.
“You can get a guardian, whether it’s a roommate, girlfriend, or even the police, and wherever you are going from point A to point B, the idea is that you will have a guardian with you. They can keep an eye on you and make sure you arrive safely,” said Neef.
Rave Guardian has already been a huge success. According to Gisclair, the first four days of Rave Guardian’s release saw around 400 downloads by people affiliated with the university. The first incident where the Rave Guardian app was triggered has already occurred, causing University Police to make their first response to an app signaling distress.
“We’ve gotten some pretty good attention. We actually had an activation during Mardi Gras, where a user accidentally set it off in Vermilion Parish. We got in touch with Vermilion police and found out everything was okay, so it’s being used and signed up for,” said Gisclair.