Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

LiveSafe App Promotes Student Safety on Campus

In response to several campus safety concerns from students and administrators last spring, the university has introduced LiveSafe, a new mobile application that focuses on addressing campus safety through a simple virtual platform. The application, which replaced the EmergenSee app, became available to Georgetown students at the start of New Student Orientation last month.

LiveSafe is currently active at various universities, including Arizona State University and Virginia Tech, but has been modified to meet Georgetown’s specific safety needs.

“There have been trainings done for the police dispatchers, communication with the NSO leaders and a lot of activity will be taking place within the next weeks and months talk through how best to market the app at Georgetown,” LiveSafe Founder Shy Pahlevani said.

The application includes several unique features to promote safety on campus. An essential component of the app is to provide a comprehensive place for students to call and message law enforcement in order to change how students interact with the Georgetown Police Department and the wider campus community.

“LiveSafe is a two-way communication tool between students, campus police and the school administration,” Pahlevani said.
Students can report concerns to GUPD directly through an online messaging system. The system includes the option for students to send tips anonymously.

“The Georgetown University Police Department has a communication consult in their office and [students] can have a continued conversation and it remains anonymous,” Pahlevani said. “It focuses on breaking down the barriers to communication by making it really simple, intuitive and easy to share information.”

GUPD Chief Jay Gruber is optimistic about the increased efficiency and communication options through the LiveSafe application.

“When a tip is submitted, [it] funnels through our communications center and it’s the responsibility of the communications person to acknowledge that we got their tip,” Gruber said. “If it’s an emergency, we are going to dispatch officers to the scene immediately.”

The innovative app also allows students to customize the tips about specific incidents, such as vandalism or assault, and send them to campus law enforcement. Students can also include pictures, audio and video with their tips.

“LiveSafe hopes to empower students to choose what they want to share with the broader campus community,” Pahlevani said.

The tips will instantly be sent to GUPD, where officers will address the safety issues.

“LiveSafe helps facilitate information sharing about safety in a real-time manner. We envision students using this app to communicate directly not only with each other, but also with the authorities to more quickly disseminate urgent information about campus safety,” Georgetown University Student Association Vice President Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15) wrote in an email.

The app also includes SafeWalk, a feature that allows students to select contacts to virtually track their walk from one place to another, in order to ensure that they safely arrive at their destination. It aims to provide students with an additional layer of security as they walk alone.

“[SafeWalk] can track you in real time with your selected emergency contacts. … It makes it really easy to contact campus police if needed,” Pahlevani said. “It’s these engaging features that draw Georgetown students in.”

The LiveSafe application hopes to eventually include a feature similar to one featured in TapRide, an older app, that allows students to order a SafeRides vehicle and track it in real-time.

“It’s a nice platform on which we can expand and it’s a really simple way for students to become connected to us,” Gruber said. “Texting is so natural and just pulling up the app is so easy.”

LiveSafe and GUPD are currently working with campus partners and groups such as InterHall,

GUSA, University Information Services and others to advertise the app and encourage all members of the Georgetown community to download it.

“It’s a continuous process. We are going to work on marketing throughout the entire year to convince students that it’s important enough to take 30 seconds to download [LiveSafe],”  Gruber said.

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