Less students download Livesafe APP


Aliese Trosky Contributor

Other colleges take a more forward approach with the LiveSafe app, but Southern has had less students download the mobile safety app.

Like the university, the University of Mississippi uses the LiveSafe app so students can report crime problems on campus. The school offered incentives such as a free iPad and a $50 Starbucks gift card.

 The University of Hartford required all students to download the LiveSafe app this year to have them complete a COVID-19 screening survey before arriving on campus for the day.

But for the last few years, the university has struggled to get students to download the free app.

“Students are often flooded with emails and other announcements and often times the announcement of this app gets lost in all of the other messages” said Chief of Police Joseph Dooley.

The university adopted the LiveSafe app in the summer of 2018.

 “We looked at several other companies,” Dooley said, “ but LiveSafe offered the best options for the Southern community.”

The app provides students, faculty and staff with a direct connection to campus safety.

“Unfortunately, the enrollment each year is about 20 percent and this year has been lower due the COVID-19 issues. We will continue to market this technology to students, faculty and staff and also ensure that the Admissions Department incorporates this technology in the talks and tours of the campus” said Dooley.

With Southern having 9,331 students attending the school, that leaves an estimate of only 1,800 students downloading the app each year.

The app allows you to report tips to University Police, virtually escort your friends in real-time on a map, place emergency calls and access safety resources.

So why aren’t Southern students taking advantage of the app?

Chairperson of the Sociology Department Jessica Kenty-Drane, said “we do not have as many residential students as other campuses and we also have a fairly suburban campus with low rates of crime in the immediate campus acreage, so it’s not surprising if students feel safe on our campus overall.”

A senior, Julia Caruso, said she does not have the app because she is not on campus enough to use it.

“I lived on campus my second semester freshman year and I worked downtown so I had to walk far to my car and the app would have been useful when I had to walk” said Caruso.

Senior Talya Eriksen said “I am not a resident and I only commute twice a week so there is not much use for me. In general, the concept could be useful.”

 “Even though I commute, I use the app for the safewalk feature because I do not like walking across campus at night alone and all my classes are at night” said Selvie Rakiposki a junior.

Kat Kowal, a junior who has the app, said “I haven’t had to use it yet, but it does have a lot of good features.”

The app can be used to inquire about policies when seeking safety and crime-related information, or when you’re hoping to find help for a friend in need. LiveSafe is also a great tool that can be used for reporting vandalism or suspicious activity, and any other issues related to conduct and well-being.

Kevin Landrigan, a senior, said he does not have the app because “I never felt the need for the app. I always felt safe on campus whether alone or with others.”

Southern’s safewalk feature is a GPS-tagged monitoring system to let your friends and family keep you covered until you arrive safely to your destination. “The safewalk is a very popular feature and can be used even if off campus. Once an individual actually gets a chance to see the valuable resources available, they see the value of having this app.” said Dooley.

“If interpersonal crimes were to increase on campus, perhaps we might see both faculty/staff and students use the app more robustly for personal safety as they walk around campus in the evening/early morning or in isolated areas of campus such as parking lots or less-travelled paths.  Let’s hope that a crime increase does not occur” said Kenty-Drane.

The app allows you to share information, tips and safety concerns with University Police via text messaging, including picture, video, and audio attachments, or even through live chat. You can also stay anonymous anytime or send your user information and location to University Police as soon as you call or message, allowing faster response times.

 Its easy-to-use features help you stay safe every day and it enables the campus authorities to better protect students and staff.

“It is the walking encyclopedia of all things safety on this campus” said Dooley.

For more information download the free app here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/livesafe/id653666211.

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