UNHPD: There's an app for that
When it comes to improving safety conditions on campus for students, the University of New Hampshire Police Department can now proudly say that there's an app for that.
Designed by LiveSafe, Inc., the department's new mobile app is available for free download in both the iTunes and Google Play stores. Though designed for use by different colleges all around the nation, students are able to choose their university or college in order to gain full access to the resources of their particular on-campus department.
The app allows students to report non-emergency tips with video, photos or audio. They can send messages to the department and notify others of crimes in the area through the use of a map feature. These tips can be made through a registered profile or anonymously, which allows the individual to choose what would make them feel most comfortable in the situation.
"It's a great resource for students," said Kristina Anderson, chief evangelist and co-founder of LiveSafe, who is traveling around from school to school to help with the app's implementation on campus. "But parents, faculty and staff are encouraged to download it as well."
Though the primary features of the app do not greatly differ from the department's previous Crime Push app, one small detail is expected to make all the difference: Officers and students have the ability to have a two-way conversation.
"We found that ... students - in order to be really engaged in using the app - had to hear back from the officers. Getting a response is really, really important to users," Anderson said.
She also said that this has also proved valuable in cases where the dispatcher doesn't get all of the necessary information at first. The dispatcher can then contact whoever sent the tip more easily, allowing whatever the case may be to be solved quicker.
It is this feature that made the app fit for the UNH community.
"The LiveSafe application is a cutting edge public safety tool that helps bridge the communication between the campus community and the UNH Police," said Paul Dean, executive director of public safety and UNH police chief, in an email.
"This technology is essential for our overall campus public safety communications strategy and compliments other apps the police department deploys to communicate to the campus community such as Facebook, Twitter, ping4alerts and UNH alerts," Dean said.
The LiveSafe app is currently being used at 10 other states, at dozens of colleges around the U.S., with UNH the first in New Hampshire to add it to its tool belt. The features of the app are the exact same for all, though the branding of the app changes from school to school.
"It has their unique school colors, their mascot, their logos and the custom resources that the police add in for them," Anderson explained.
Anderson said that she and her team of developers hope to continue to make the app a more social experience in the future in order to not just to increase it's popularity, but to increase safety on campus.
"We want to make it almost like a virtual discussion board," she said.
LiveSafe, Inc. was started in 2012. Its co-founder, Eman Pahlavani, is an alumnus of UNH's Law School and Dean, one of the six police advisors for the company, has been working with LiveSafe since its founding.
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