NEW BRITAIN - Central Connecticut State University officials have put campus safety right in the palms of students’ hands.
Last week, at the start of the fall semester, the school launched a smart phone app that allows students to do anything from reporting suspicious activity on campus to monitoring a fellow student walking across the campus after a late-night class.
Students can download the free app, called LiveSafe, in the Google Play Store or the iTunes Store. Users then must create an account before accessing the app’s features, which centers around campus safety. CCSU subscribes to the app through a third-party supplier.
“We bought it to enhance our community engagement,” said Sgt. Jerry Erwin, of the CCSU Police Department.
Erwin said the app allows students and faculty to report car accidents, assaults, medical emergencies, suspicious activity and other issues, accompanied by a photo, a video or a text message, to campus dispatch. It can also connect them by phone to CCSU police or the New Britain Police Department, he said, adding that an app designed for smart phones is the best way to reach today’s youth.
Tips can be sent anonymously or contact information can be included so police can follow up on the complaint.
The app can also connect students to a multitude of resources, including sexual assault crisis and suicide prevention.
One feature Erwin said he believes will be particularly useful is the one that allows a parent or friend to watch a student as he or she walks across the campus. Should something go awry, Erwin said, police will have a “breadcrumb trail” to follow.
He added that crime on campus over the years has been on the decline. Officials at the university - which typically enrolls about 12,000 students each semester - have always tried to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to campus safety, he said.
The LiveSafe app, Erwin said, is the “modern day ‘If you see something, say something.’ ”
“It’s a way for the students to be connected to the whole university,” the sergeant said, cautioning that in situations that require immediate assistance, calling 911 is still the best option.
Having just launched it last week, Erwin said it’s too early to tell how the app will work out.
Analisa Novak, a senior at CCSU majoring in journalism, said she believes LiveSafe is a good thing for CCSU to take advantage of, but she suspects many students aren’t yet aware that it’s available.
“They haven’t really advertised it to students,” she said. “I’ve heard of other companies using it, but I didn’t know we had it here.”
While Novak doesn’t see herself using the app all that much, she said she believes it would be useful for students living on campus or those with night classes - anyone who has to walk on campus in the dark.
“They’re giving you that extra level of security,” she said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.