UMSL introduces Rave Guardian app to enhance campus safety

(Photo by August Jennewein)

University of Missouri–St. Louis students, faculty and staff have a personalized safety network at their fingertips thanks to a recently launched campus mobile app known as Rave Guardian.

The app is free to download and offers speed-dial functionality to reach campus police, a safety timer that acts as a virtual escort and a call directory of university and national support services. Rave Guardian is GPS equipped, allowing dispatchers to immediately identify the locations of callers, even if they cannot speak due to an emergency.

As the allotted time ends on the Rave Guardian safety timer, users are presented with several options. They can add more time, deactivate the timer or request assistance from campus police or selected phone contacts. (Screenshot of Rave Guardian)

“This technology provides the same immediate contact with the campus police as a blue light telephone with the added ability to display your location on campus,” said Paul Anderson, the executive officer of UMSL’s Bureau of Standards and Technology. “Essentially, this is a blue light phone in your pocket. You no longer need to find one to contact the police. Simply press the “Call UMSL Police” button on your app for one-touch dialing.”

Among the features is a peer-to-peer notification system that allows users to select anyone in their phone’s contact list to monitor their walks, ensuring they get to their destinations safely.

The system shows users’ locations, tracks their paths and notifies selected contacts when users reach their destinations.

Implementation of Rave Guardian followed a 2017 intercampus safety summit hosted by the University of Missouri System. The meeting served to promote the newly required UM System Campus Emergency Alert Training to educate students, faculty and staff on how to respond when alerts are sent via UMSL’s emergency notification system. This opt-in system alerts the campus community of any impending danger through emails and text messages.

Another recommendation from the meeting was the adoption of a personal safety app. Rave Guardian is now in various stages of implementation at each UM System university.

“The UMSL Police Department is excited about this new safety technology that will be available to all students, faculty and staff,” Anderson said. “The Rave Guardian app affords the user an added layer of personal safety.”

Campus police are planning to send a campuswide email with information on how to download and configure the personal safety app.

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