Campus security is no joke at West Virginia University (WVU) – especially when it comes to physical security.
Since the Virginia Tech shootings, WVU has been cracking down on safety and security, with 120 T.V. monitors and digital signs for mass notification, a three-pronged digital signage strategy for emergency awareness on campus, and a five by 18 foot video wall in the visitors’ center to welcome and warn current students about campus threats.
However, the campus’s latest weapon against on-campus threats is the LiveSafe app.
LiveSafe is a mobile safety communications platform that empowers bystanders to intervene during an emergency through information they share with campus safety personnel.
Once installed on iPhone and Android devices, students, faculty and staff use the app to report GPS-tagged information alongside pictures, video and audio clips to campus safety officials. From there, officials respond to students, faculty and staff through a Cloud-based dashboard using two-way chat, and also use the submitted information for further investigate an emergency.
Earlier this month, WVU used LiveSafe to tap into the campus’s 5,000 app-users to conduct a semester safety audit and get feedback about which safety measures need some tweaking.
According to a previous statement, Bob Roberts, Chief of WVU Police, said that the number of domestic violence cases has increased between 2013 and 2014 due to better education and training.
“Part of the reason that we’re seeing numbers changing year in and year out is, part of it’s education,” said Bob Roberts, chief of WVU Police in an article by www.12boycom. “With our Title IX unit in diversity, there’s a lot of work going in to make sure our staffs are trained, our people are trained and the word gets out.”
In that same statement, Roberts encouraged LiveSafe users to utilize the app to report possible domestic violence cases to his team.
Why LiveSafe is Important to Higher Education
The value LiveSafe implies is right in its name – living safer.
More often than not, students decide which college they will spend four years attending based on whether or not the campus is safe. When students have the power to be whistleblowers against campus crime, they are given partial responsibility and control over how safe campus is. Giving them that control may also give them incentive to invest in a particular school, and boost the overall ROI of a school.
Plus, colleges and universities tend to be highlighted by the news as notorious hot spots for domestic violence cases and sexual abuse cases. A solution like this may help colleges chop down crime rates and skip the limelight.
Power in numbers may be a key to guarding campuses against physical threats, even before they happen. Active shooters might be tackled before the trigger is pulled, and campus safety officials may be warned early enough to bulldoze into a room and prevent a potential rape.
Based on its security gear and recent adaptation LiveSafe, it seems that crime prevention is one of WVU’s – and other campuses’ – top goals.