TEMPE, AZ - It’s a virtual world and Arizona State University police plan to tap into it with a new app called “LiveSafe .”
The app doesn’t replace ASU’s blue light or 911 system, but does put it in the hands of every student, employee and parent who downloads it onto their smart phone.
“Everybody is texting, our students text, our kids text and what a great way to communicate to our police department through text,” said ASU police Sgt. Daniel Macias.
LiveSafe has several options, including tips for dealing with crimes on campus, but most importantly options to report the crimes ranging from a suspicious person to a worst case scenario, a live shooter on campus.
“You can text in your tips quietly, you don't have to say anything. The police department is talking with you right away,” Macias explained.
The free ASU LiveSafe mobile app will allow users to make emergency calls, communicate via real-time chat, pictures, audio and video and they can do it anonymously.
While the app will ask for contact information, police can’t see it if you push the anonymous option.
You can even have friends and family “virtually” walk you home to make sure you arrive safely.
You click the option and invite the person out of your contacts to “follow you” using a GPS ping on a map.
When you arrive, it will disengage the tracking system.
“That would be something that I would be interested in. The ‘follow’ thing is a little freaky but I think that would be helpful,” said Alex Holt, a junior at ASU.
In a crisis, a link with an accurate GPS location can be sent to alert a LiveSafe user’s personal emergency contacts.
ASU joins schools in 16 other states to launch the mobile app created by Virginia-based LiveSafe, which was co-founded by a Virginia Tech shooting survivor.
While phone calls and written reports will still be acted upon by campus police, LiveSafe users can report tips in new ways and with more accurate location information.
ASU Senior Student Nicole Swede says she plans to download the app.
“Social media is a major factor in college student’s lives. When someone sees a burning building, they take a picture and snap chat it, but they don’t do anything about it, with this app they can do something about it,” Swede said.
"Expanding communication lines with the campus community is critical for our department," said Michael Thompson, acting ASU Chief of Police. "LiveSafe makes it easier for us to respond our community's needs, which is paramount for promoting a safer environment."
The app is available to all smartphone users, which includes ASU staff, faculty, parents and more than 82,000 students.
The LiveSafe app does not replace 911 emergency services or any communications with local police departments, according to the press release.
The LiveSafe app is available at Apple iTunes and Google Play stores.