Smart phones have become an essential part of college students lives, because they can be used for numerous tools such as scheduling classes, taking notes, or updating your status. A type of application students should utilize are safety apps that can be used to contact police and may prevent you from being a victim of a crime while walking home from school.
CSUN Police Services are in the process of developing a new app where students can request a safety escort through Matador Patrol.
“Think of it like Uber for safety escorts,” said Christina Villalobos, Special Assistant to the Chief of Police and Public Information Officer. “When students asked about other safety apps, we recommend Circle of Six and OnWatch.”
The Circle of Six app allows the user to choose between six contacts to place into the app, then the app will notify those six friends where you are and how they can help. Icons represent the actions you would like your friends to take and with one touch, a friend can provide an interruption, come pick you up, or call for help.
OnWatch is a safety app designed for college students to notify friends if they are in a situation they do not want to be in through multiple outlets. You can call or notify police or your friends. The app also provides a timer that you can start at any moment, and if you do not stop it within 30 seconds the police will be contacted.
Villalobos also touched upon the Police Services app within the CSUN app that students can use.
“You can call police, file a police report, locate maps, link to social media, request a presentation, locate emergency resources, and many more things,” she said.
CSUN students receive emails whenever a crime is in process on campus, but these apps can help prevent muggings or theft before these situations occur.
CSUN Senior Sophie Ashley explained that she does not use any safety apps, but desired to start doing so.
“With all the notifications students receive through police services, I probably should start using them,” Ashley said. “We should take advantage of any easy way to get out of tough situations.”
USC Graduate student Allie Ross says she was using an app called Safe Trek, which is an app that uses a touch sensitive pad that you hold your thumb down on until you are safe. Once safe, you simply release the button and enter a four digit pin. If you do not do so within 30 seconds the police will be called. This app however started charging its users $2.99 to use.
“I used to use this app and have had to press the button once or twice, just as a precaution because I was walking in a bad area,” said Ross. “Once they started charging I stopped using it though, there shouldn’t be a price on your safety.”
With these apps, along with a heightened sense of awareness, CSUN might be able to quell sexual assault and violence on and around campus.