Thanks to an implementation of the LiveSafe app at Western Carolina University, students and faculty and staff members can feel safer while strolling across the Cullowhee campus.
The campus safety app was rolled out in June and introduced to students and their parents during summer orientation. It became an instant hit, said Shane Stovall, WCU’s director of emergency services.
Stovall said it is common practice at most colleges and universities to have a campus safety app, and WCU joins a few other University of North Carolina System schools that use LiveSafe.
“We looked into it and looked at its functionality and felt like it would be a good fit here at Western,” Stovall said. “We decided to bring it on board to give students the tool so that they could report tips using their cell phone. They can provide pictures, video and voice with a tip to our dispatch center, and our dispatch center monitors that 24/7.”
The free app can be downloaded onto smart phones from the Google Play store or Apple’s iTunes store. Once you download it and register, select WCU as your location. From the app, you can report tips or accidents, make calls to the WCU Police Department or the local 911 center, access information for emergency procedures and campus resources, and receive notifications through LiveSafe when WCU sends out messages.
One of the most popular features so far has been SafeWalk, which allows users to have friends or family members virtually watch them walk across campus with a GPS-tagged monitoring feature.
“For instance, if you’re working late at night and you have to walk across campus in the dark, you can get with one of your contacts and they can follow you through the app using a bread crumb trail,” Stovall said. “If you don’t make it to your location, they can report that. Or when you get to your location, you can check in that you got to your location safely. It’s actually been used quite a bit.”
The app is monitored in the emergency services command center. Currently, about 1,100 people have downloaded the app, Stovall said, with that number rising daily.
“So far, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback on it,” Stovall said. “That fact that it’s able to provide all these tools to students, staff and faculty, we’re really pleased with that. We just need to continue to get people to sign up and download the app and become part of that LiveSafe community here at Western.”
Other features include real-time tracking of WCU’s CatTran buses and an interactive campus map. For more information on the LiveSafe app, contact emergency services at 828-227-3445.