Campus Public Safety launched the Rave Guardian safety app on Jan. 14 that will allow students to contact the Cal Poly Police Department directly if they are in danger. The app is currently available for all Cal Poly students and employees.
The app allows the user to send confidential text messages to the Cal Poly Police Department with tips, reports of suspicious activity or requests for a safety walk from Mustang Patrol. These text messages can be sent anonymously or campus police will be able to see the user’s name, phone number and profile. Additionally, the app has an emergency button that will either connect a user to 9-1-1 or Cal Poly police officials.
“I think any way to keep people safer is a good idea — there have been so many incidents this year,” wine and viticulture freshman Samara Golan said. “I didn’t know about [the app] at all, so I think spreading the word about it would be a good idea.”
The new app has several different safety features in case students find themselves in an emergency on campus or in case they want extra protection while walking through campus.
“I think it’s a pretty cool idea because I personally have classes late at night,” liberal studies junior Grace Mink said. “Just knowing that people have the app would create a sense of security and safety.”
According to the campus police website, a safety timer on the app will act as a virtual escort and allow the user to share their location with a “guardian” — which can be a CPPD official or a friend — while they walk to their destination. If the timer is not deactivated once the user reaches their destination, the app will send their location to their guardian.
“This app is a simple, non-intrusive way to help increase the safety and security for users and offer peace of mind to friends and family members,” Cal Poly’s assistant vice president for public safety and chief of police George Hughes said in a press release.
“My girlfriend’s safety is very important to me,” computer engineering junior Nick Aspiras said. “In the cases I’m not [with her] and somehow my text doesn’t come through, this would be a great second option.”
Additionally, the app contains several resources such as a call directory with Cal Poly’s counseling hotline, Cal Poly’s nurse advice line, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Posion Control and Crime Stoppers. It has links to the Mustang Shuttle, the Employee Assistance program and ways to report lighting outages on campus. It also allows users to add emergency contacts and vehicles to their profile.
In order to protect users’ privacy, locations will only be shared with designated people or campus officers if the user allows it or asks for help. The website states that campus police will not be able to track users when they are not using the app.
Still, Golan said she doesn’t think she will download the app due to privacy reasons.
“For some reason having the police know where I am and following me seems great, but also does not seem like something I’d want,” Golan said.
The app works on and off campus. However, if a student or employee has an emergency off campus, campus officials will not be able to be “guardians” for the safety timer feature. Any reports or tips made off campus will be sent to local authorities like San Luis Obispo Police.
The website states that the app is “like having an emergency blue light system and a trusted friend with you at all times.”