Student Government and USCPD plan to unveil a new campus safety app after initial concerns of crime were brought to the forefront early this semester.
Rave Guardian, currently in the app store, is now in beta-testing and will officially launch later this week or early next week.
“[USCPD is] ready to support the launch," Student Body Vice President Donnie Iorio said. "When you have an app like this, it’s not just an app. You're saying it’s an efficient and reliable tool to use in an emergency. Just like a 911 Center can’t shut down, this app had to be ready, and it’s ready now.”
In the app, you can call the police department or report crimes that includes health risks to help police when they arrive on scene.
Users can also set timers that shows what time they should arrive home and when the timer goes off, it alerts the close friends of that user.
Students can set up their own "guardians" that the app will notify when users need to get in touch with them. Additionally, users can make emergency calls and text tips to authorities with pictures and descriptions of the crime taking place.
“This gives them the option to communicate through text message and [through] pictures — it’s what our generation knows," Iorio said. "It’s going to open up some options, and we will hopefully see a reduction in crime.”
The idea for the app originated three years ago, and now, the app is ready to launch in the coming weeks. Last semester, the Student Senate passed a resolution to support the development of the app for the betterment of the student body.
USCPD wanted to perfect the technology going into the app, as well as making sure that the personnel trained in the technology knew how to use it all hours of the day.
“USCPD wanted to make sure they did it right and in order for us to do that you have to integrate this technology into your 911 Call Center,” Iorio said. “That’s additional technology and support staff needed. Everyone had to be trained on it because you can't have just one person staffing it from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. who doesn’t know how to use it. Everyone had to be fluent in it, and we had to have some testing done.”
USC isn't the only school that uses this software; schools like Arkansas, Middle Tennessee State and the University of Louisiana also use the app.
Students can transmit locations to police if they're being followed, just like using the blue-light call boxes on campus. Iorio said that the app will function much like the call boxes, but in an easily portable manner.
“This is another way to prevent [crime]. It’s a way for you to have the safe tracking of the police being able to find you,” Iorio said. "I feel safer seeing those call stations everywhere, and this is like having a call station in your pocket.”