List of Campus Safety Mobile Apps
In recent years, we have seen a rise in the creation of mobile apps designed for safety and security. In combination with the technical abilities of smartphones, the creation and demand for safety apps is growing out of security concerns across the nation in the wake of campus shootings and other safety incidents. According to the Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey 2015, conducted by Harris Poll, eight in ten (86%) college students regularly use a smartphone, up slightly from 83% in 2014. “Technology-wise, we’ve learned that if we’re going to communicate well with this age group on campus, we’ve got to be able to use the mechanisms they’re addicted to and that they love, and when we do that, we’re more successful in getting the message out about safety,” said Anne P. Glavin, chief of police at California State University, Northridge Police Department and past president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
Many colleges and universities are deciding to implement safety and security apps on their campuses for students, and in some cases for faculty and staff as well. Generally, the institution pays a subscription or license fee and the apps are accessible to users as a free download. A majority of the personal safety apps available can be downloaded and used, sometimes at a limited functionality, for free by individuals. If institutions subscribe to certain services additional functionality is available to both the user and the institution. For example, some apps offer a direct connection to campus public safety offices, tip reporting, live GPS location monitoring, or real-time video and audio recording. This information is often saved on a secure server and available, if needed, for criminal investigations.
This emerging mobile technology can be part of a campus’s toolbox of responses. There are advantages and disadvantages to using blue light emergency phones, mobile safety apps, and other security technologies. One of the advantages of mobile apps is that students may feel more comfortable with texting or communicating with campus safety and law enforcement officials through the apps instead of calling, which may be an intimidating task.
This comprehensive list of mobile safety apps includes app descriptions, cost information, supporting devices, and links to more information that may assist individuals and institutions considering the use of mobile safety app technology.