New app paid for by MUPD to make it safer for students walking alone

Rave Guardian is designed to give students a virtual “guardian” to walk with them.

MUPD launched the new Rave Guardian app which they hope will lead to a safer campus, department sources said. This free app will give users access to all MU safety services through one easy to use interface. Designed by Rave Mobile Safety, the app is used on campuses across the country.

In addition to increasing and simplifying access to emergency services, the app also allows users to invite people to be their ‘guardians’. If a user is ever in a situation where they do not feel safe walking somewhere, their guardian can virtually walk with them.

Guardians will be able to talk on the phone and track the location of the person they are virtually walking with. If needed, the app can call 911 and share the exact location of the user with MUPD. Other features highlighted by MUPD are the ability to store medical emergency information, submit reports of suspicious activity including pictures, and more.

Public Safety Information Specialist Sara Diedrich said that MU is always working to ensure that students and faculty are safe and comfortable when on campus and that the implementation of the Rave Guardian app is just one step in that process.

“Our goal is to continue offering our campus community safety tools that help maintain the security of our campus,” Diedrich said.

MUPD Chief Doug Schwandt echoed that sentiment in a press release announcing the new service.

“We’re always looking for new ways to update security measures and ensure our students, staff, and faculty feel safe and comfortable on campus,” Schwandt said.

While MU is a relatively safe campus for its size, incidents do still happen. On Aug. 19 MUPD received a report of a sex offense at the Welcome Week American Authors concert.

Freshman Sofia Voss said there is a clear need for a program like Rave on MU’s campus.

“Despite trusting my environment, I still always am hyper-aware of any possible threat, especially with college being so independent and MU being so large,” Voss said.

After using the app for a few days, Voss said that it definitely made her feel safe and that she would continue to use it when on campus.

“I’m spending more time alone now more than ever and with that increased freedom to do as I please, I also need to be more aware of the real life threats that surround me. That’s where Guardian steps in,” Voss said.

One major concern with the app is that many students don’t know what it is, or even that it exists.

“The only person I’ve heard about it from is my mom. I don’t think the University has done a great job advertising it,” sophomore Andrew Schlager said.

Schlager thinks it may be a useful service, but if people don’t download the app, it won’t be able to make a difference.

This is especially concerning given that to use the app the University is paying Rave Mobile Safety $8,000 a year, but it is an investment that the administration and police hope will be well worth the cost once word spreads about how useful the app is.

“We decided to invest in Rave Guardian because it allows the MU police department to communicate directly with users and engage with the campus community in a way familiar to most of us – our cell phones,” Diedrich said.

The Rave Guardian app is available to be downloaded by anyone for free through the App Store or Google Play Store.

Edited by Morgan Smith |

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