Kennesaw State University unveiled its new app Monday, Oct. 12, LiveSafe, available free for download on all iPhone and Android devices for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors.
The user-friendly app, developed by a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy and purchased by KSU, puts safety at students’ fingertips, making it easy for users to communicate directly – and anonymously, if they choose – with KSU police dispatch via text, picture, phone call, audio or video recording.
LiveSafe’s easy-to-navigate interface allows users to quickly and discreetly issue reports or tips on a variety of concerns, including car accidents, noise disturbances, suspicious activity, theft, sexual assault and violence, all with just a few taps on their smartphones. The alerts are immediately sent to the Department of Public Safety’s Communication Center, where users can communicate in real time with campus officers and dispatchers.
The app can also be used to access important campus resources such as emergency response procedures and victim services for sexual assault and misconduct.
In addition to programs like the online interpersonal violence prevention training “Not Anymore” that was instituted at the beginning of this year, the LiveSafe app is slated to be another resource in KSU’s growing efforts to foster a culture of reporting on campus.
“We want victims of crimes to feel supported and encouraged to come forward, so we can get them the help and resources they need,” said KSU Chief of Police Roger Stearns.
The app may also help to keep users safe in the event of a violent crime.
“Say you’re in a violent situation,” Stearns said. “You’re in your residence and you’ve got a situation where you’re hiding or behind a locked door. You don’t want the intruder to know you’re on your phone, so you can’t really talk to us. But now, [because of this app], you can text us.”
“And if you’re out there and you see something suspicious, you can take a picture of it or you can video it,” he said, pointing out that it removes the danger of having to engage in a potentially violent or dangerous situation.
LiveSafe also features SafeWalk, a tool that allows users to have a friend or family member virtually “walk” them home in real-time, using a map with GPS-enabled tracking. SafeWalk can be used both on campus and out in the community, allowing users to text with the person who’s “walking” with them throughout their journey, to help make sure someone knows if and when they’ve made it safely to their destination.
The launch of the LiveSafe app demonstrates KSU’s commitment not only to student safety, but also to student engagement and communication. Oftentimes, lack of convenience and discretion prevent bystanders and victims from reporting crimes. With LiveSafe’s option to remain anonymous and the simplicity of the app’s interface, however, the community now has a more valuable and effective tool in their arsenal of crime prevention.
Students and other users of the app will need to provide their first and last names and email addresses, information that helps when dispatching public safety personnel to the scene of an incident. If they prefer to report anonymously, a user’s personal identifying information is replaced by ‘Anonymous’ in the data field, keeping it protected by both the third-party vendor supplying the app and the U.S Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.
“There’s lots of different ways for the public to talk to us, either as witnesses or as victims,” Stearns said. “What I like about putting this app out there for the community is that it gives us a resource, a tool, that really changes the way we communicate with the communities we serve.”
To download the app, community members can search for LiveSafe in the app store on their device. Once it’s downloaded, go to settings, select Kennesaw State University, and you’ll be instantly connected to KSU’s Department of Public Safety.