Mobile emergency app fails to address campus safety issues

The administration deserves credit for thinking of new ways of addressing crime on and near campus. However, the newly purchased Rave Guardian system does little to address real safety problems on campus. While the system does provide more information to police or emergency services after a crime has occurred, it does nothing to prevent it. A one-touch app is more efficient than dialing 911, but regardless of how fast a student can get in touch with police, an accosted student is still alone until police arrive, providing plenty of time for their attacker to take their belongings. Even then, it is assumed that the student can activate the app before their attacker takes their phone, in which case the app provides no extra protection.

At the end of the day, there is very little the administration can do to help a student while they are being accosted, so they should instead focus on preventing the student from being attacked in the first place.

In particular, the focus should be on preventing attacks near the periphery, where the GTPD’s jurisdiction ends. The new Midnight Rambler route has been an excellent addition to campus safety for students living on-campus, and the money going towards the new system could instead pay for a similar service for students living off-campus.

In addition, the should be careful with how it handles the powder keg of privacy issues such a system raises. Once a student opts-in to the system, their phone begins collecting data about their movement patterns, which raises the obvious issues that always come with tracking the location of individuals, particularly that such data could be used in instances unrelated to a student’s immediate safety concerns. It is also troubling that a student cannot opt into the program without also opting into the movement tracking feature.