Ohio State’s Department of Public Safety is now offering a new free safety app for students, faculty and staff.
The point of the Rave Guardian app is to protect students, faculty and staff with quicker alerts and safety notices. And users of the app can pick friends or family as a virtual guardian to follow them via GPS-tracking as they travel around campus.
“It’s sort of like a mobile blue light and walking around campus you can see these blue lights gathered around, but now you have one in your pocket,” said Shamina Merchant, a student at OSU who downloaded the app on her cellphone along with 1,500 other students so far.
“I’ve actually gotten to use it even last night with my mom walking home and it just adds an extra layer of feeling safe,” Merchant said.
Merchant said it’s easy to use.
She said she can use the Rave Guardian App to set up a safety timer for 5 minutes, for example, while walking home and then just add a guardian, such as her mom, to watch her walk home. She said when she starts the timer it then notifies her mom and tells her if somebody is watching her session.
Merchant said the app allows her to disable and deactivate the timer to let anyone who’s watching know that she’s arrived home safely.
Users can select a guardian through their phone contacts and they do not need to have the app. The messages come to them through texts.
The app has been in the works since the summer. It launched this month.
But Dan Headman, a spokesman at Ohio State, said the app should not replace their instincts, adding that app users should continue to be aware of their surroundings.
“Continue to be aware of your surroundings if you see something suspicious report it to law enforcement. Really it’s just one more tool in the toolbox for students to enhance safety,” Headman said.
The app is available to download for all students, faculty and staff who are signed up for Buckeye Alerts. Just search “Rave Guardian” inside the Ohio State app.