Safety on college campuses has always been a major focus, but even more so in the last several months on the UT campus. Now, one Austin group is working on a special project that could help students play a role in cutting down crime.
A small group of current and former Longhorn students are creating a special safety app called Campus Watch. It's designed to move emergency blue box functions onto smartphones.
“Cause of the recent events that have happened, safety is kind of an issue that they're worried about,” UT student Michalea Montez said.
Campus Watch founder and UT alumni Paolo Soriano says the goal was to make the app simple. For example, if a user witnesses an attack, they open up the app, press 'Help' and be connected to dispatch. It allows the user to either talk, text or video police, all while their location is geo-tracked.
“We like to think of ourselves as empowering the students and having them take part in their own safety, not just leaving someone else to do it,” Soriano said.
The crime tips pop up in real time on a map other users can see, similar to the Waze traffic app. Designers say it takes kiosks out of the equation, making it more accessible to get help.
“If we are able to save one person, or if we’re able to save someone’s life, that’s what we’re here for,” Vice President of Business Development Alfredo Del Barrio said.
The company says rolling it out at UT is just the beginning. The official launch is set for the first week of November.