Campus safety app heads to spring break

Tech company founded by victim of crime at Virginia Tech using free smartphone technology to take on sexual assault and crime on college campuses.

campus-safety-appAlong with bikinis and beach towels, savvy college students may want to consider packing a smartphone safety app for Spring Break 2015, says a been-there founder of a campus safety tool.

LiveSafe, which specializes in mobile safety technology, is joining forces with It’s On Us, a sexual assault prevention campaign, to encourage Spring Breakers to keep track of their friends with SafeWalk. It’s a back-pocket buddy system that aims to help students get home safely.

A popular feature of the LiveSafe app used on campuses in 20 states, SafeWalk connects students through GPS technology for a safer night out, explains the company. When friends are apart, one student invites others to virtually accompany her as she walks alone from a beach, bar, hotel or party. While the friends follow her progress on a map, the walker can put the phone away or text within the app. If she runs into trouble, the friends alert police of her exact location. The walker can also tap a panic button within the app for instant contact with police.

(Next page: How your institution can become part of a larger campaign)

SafeWalk is especially vital during spring break revelries, when students are in an unfamiliar environment, with thousands of strangers, and may be impaired. SafeWalk is free and works anywhere a smartphone can get a signal.

According to the company, students’ altruistic instinct to protect their friends inspired SafeWalk’s design, which empowers students to become part of the solution to sexual assault and violence.

It’s On Us is urging students who don’t already use the app at school to download it before they travel. LiveSafe is encouraging students to use the It’s On Us version of the app to take the It’s On Us pledge to prevent sexual assault. Students download the LiveSafe app, and choose “It’s On Us” as their organization when registering.

“Vacationing students don’t always stick together, but they do keep their smartphones handy,” said Shy Pahlevani, LiveSafe co-founder. “SafeWalk’s simple interface lets you know instantly if your girlfriend went back to the beach or if she never made it to the hotel. It works on campuses and it will work on Spring Break. LiveSafe is committed to the It’s On Us goal of preventing sexual assault and violence among college students.”

“In order to properly address and help prevent sexual assault, we have to empower students to step-in when they see a friend in need,” said Kristin Avery, It’s On Us campaign manager. “LiveSafe’s SafeWalk is an excellent way for students to transition from being bystanders to violence to taking an active role in its prevention, one friend at a time.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.