Last Thursday, students received an email from Acting Chancellor Dana Dunn announcing a new smartphone application that will allow students to communicate directly with UNCG Police.
The free app is intended to continue to modernize the interactions between students and campus police, which is further augmenting services such as a text service for officers to communicate with students.
The app is entitled “LiveSafe,” and it is available to students on both Google Play and the App Store. The directions for downloading it are to search for “LiveSafe” in either store, click download, sign up for an account inside of the app and then select “UNC-Greensboro.” It should do this if a student is on or near campus.
Some of the features include anonymous real-time chatting with police, location tracking for when a student is walking home and an escort service where students can request an escort home at night by a UNCG Police officer.
There is an opt-in option for communicating student location to the police if they are in distress, the announcement stresses that the police are not actively tracking the locations of students using the app.
The app will also provide live notifications in the event of an emergency on campus, as well as tips for various emergency situations.
LiveSafe is an independent company that provides a variety of enterprise and student focused apps for safety, with UNC-Greensboro being one of the more recent institutions to begin using the app. The company has a board that includes former FBI, Secret Service and military personnel.
The app is rated with four stars out of five in the Google Play Store, and with four and a half stars out of five in the App Store.
The project was a culmination of work done by Student Government Association, Information Technology Services and various other organizations around campus. Many students have expressed discontent with the effectiveness of the text messaging system for communicating with the police, and moving to an application-based medium may alleviate some of these issues.
Many students have passed on SMS-based messaging (typically referred to as text messaging) for different service such as WhatsApp, GroupMe, Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Google Hangouts, so taking a similar approach to communicating with campus police may show similar results.
The company is privately-owned and has had two funding rounds, one in 2013 and one in 2014. The funding rounds were for undisclosed amounts.