AAMU sexual assault calls attention to safety apps - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

AAMU sexual assault calls attention to safety apps

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

In light of the recent sexual assault, attack reported at Alabama A&M University people are looking for ways they can arm themselves with some peace of mind.

Some apps offer enhanced safety services with just the touch of a screen.

Education major Lizzie Wakley likes to spend long hours in the library, sometimes heading home after dark.

"Oftentimes I find myself walking home by myself late at night," she said.

But Lizzie has a secret safety weapon -- her cell phone. Loaded with the "LiveSafe" app that can track her GPS location at all times, and make an emergency call to campus police with the touch of a button.

"What we want to be able to do is track that students' location and get that information directly to the university police department," Tom Saccenti said.

Saccenti is the president of the National Association of Campus Safety administrators. He believes it's important for all colleges to equip students with safety apps and encourage their use.

"We see colleges throughout the countries establishing app programs. It's one additional tool that we provide to our students and give them the option to use when they're out on campus and feel unsafe,” he said. There are many different apps to choose from, each with a variety of safety features.

Kitestring will time your walk, alerting friends or family if you don't check in after a certain time. LiveSafe will live track your GPS so you're easily located in an emergency.

React Mobile will allow you to send an emergency message through text, email, even Twitter and Facebook  including your GPS coordinates. The Safecaster app can live stream and record video in an emergency.

"No one's going to be able to use this app to prevent crime from occurring. What the app will do is it will foster an environment of safety on our campus so that people are reporting things to us and engaging the police department,” Saccenti said.

While these apps are not meant to replace 911, campus safety officials say they can be another layer of protection.

"The 911 system doesn't traditionally have the ability to track a student and know their exact location and continue that tracking once the call is ended or once the call is made,” Saccenti said. As for Lizzie, she says if nothing else it's great for peace of mind.

"I feel safer walking alone,” Wakley said.

You don't have to be in college to take advantage of these apps. Many are
free for anyone to download and use. Others charge a small fee or offer a monthly subscription service for premium features.

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