App puts safety in hands of ECU community

LiveSafe app

The smartphone application, LiveSafe, allows ECU students to quickly and easily communicate concerns about campus safety to campus officials. For more information or to download, visit ecu.edu/LiveSafe. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

One year ago, East Carolina University put safety into the hands of the campus community through the mobile safety app, LiveSafe.

Since being introduced to the ECU campus in April 2016, students and employees have used the app to report tips ranging from attempted car break-ins and people loitering around buildings to loud noise and requesting help for a friend abusing alcohol using the two-way communication with campus safety officials.

During the last year, 169 tips have been submitted and the SafeWalk feature was used more than 1,000 times. According to Lauren Mink, ECU’s emergency planner, most tips are submitted between 2 p.m. and 4 a.m. and 50 percent are submitted anonymously.

“We are very pleased with how the students and employees are using LiveSafe,” said Mink.

LiveSafe has been a useful addition to the safety initiatives on campus like blue light phones, security cameras and safety patrol.

“I believe students feel more comfortable using the app because they can submit detailed information through pictures and text anonymously,” said Lt. Chris Sutton, ECU Police.

LiveSafe provides seamless two-way communication to ECU Police and was named as one of the “10 Apps Every College Student Should Download Today” by the Huffington Post. Users can directly and anonymously report concerns using text messaging, audio, video and photos. The free app is available through Google Play and iTunes and is intended to make reporting safety concerns easier and less intimidating.

LiveSafe app

LiveSafe gives users the ability to discreetly and anonymously report safety concerns.

When an employee or student messages police during an emergency situation, dispatchers can live chat with them to provide instructions while police are en route if talking or calling attention to the person reporting the information is not wanted. In the last year, 40 emergency calls and/or messages were made using ECU’s LiveSafe app.

In addition to reporting safety concerns, LiveSafe provides another popular feature – SafeWalk.

Users can invite a friend to virtually walk with them by monitoring their location through a GPS enabled map. During the walk friends can live chat to remain in constant contact and a 911 button is available for both users if they feel help is needed immediately. ECU’s SafeRide program can be contacted through LiveSafe as well.

“Since we are getting close to exams, we want students and faculty to use LiveSafe to report mental health or safety concerns and use the SafeWalk feature if they are studying late at night,” said Mink.

Senior Elijah Wood downloaded the app shortly after it was available at ECU and uses SafeWalk regularly.

“I use SafeWalk a lot because I study late at the library. The GPS feature lets friends follow me until I get home safely,” said Wood.

The app will supplement many safety initiatives already on campus such as blue lights, security cameras and safety patrol.

To celebrate LiveSafe’s success at ECU, campus safety is giving away an iPad. To enter, students, faculty or staff must submit a selfie with an ECU police officer, a photo of an ECU police car or blue light phone on campus through the LiveSafe app “photo challenge” tip icon. The winner will be randomly selected on April 13.

To download LiveSafe or for more information, visit www.ecu.edu/LiveSafe.

Taken from ECU News Services

LIVESAFE APP: Mobile app puts safety in the hands of students and employees

By Jamie Smith
ECU News Services