New app aims to keep students safe

UW Safe app allows students to quickly contact security services

A new app put out by the University of Winnipeg Security Services aims to help keep students safe.

The UW Safe app will alert users to any safety issues, give general advice on how students can protect themselves and provide an easy way to contact security should a problem arise.

Director of campus security Marty Grainger says the app is needed, because it allows them to quickly alert students if there is an emergency. They encourage university staff, faculty and community members using the downtown campus to also download the app.

“We’ve been looking for a way to push out a message. We’ve got the PA system, we have mass emails that can be sent out, we can send out phone messages,” Grainger says. “If someone is riding on the bus coming to the university, we can push out a message, (of) ‘hey, this is going on here, stay clear.’”

Through the app, students can call campus security, the Sexual Misconduct Response Team, and 911 by pushing a few icons. It also lets users send their location to Security Services and contact SafeWalk.

Cassie Shin, a first-year education student, says the app makes her feel more secure while she studies.

“I’m glad they have (the UW Safe app). I’ve never been to Winnipeg before, and it’s good to know that there’s an easy way to contact security … I’m not sure when I’ll use it, but I’m just happy to know that (the app) exists,” Shin says.

According to Grainger, over 400 users have downloaded the app. Security expects that number to grow as more people learn about it.

Grainger says the app provides safety tips, the most important of which is to be aware of your surroundings.

“We have a lot of areas in the university where students go, because it’s quiet and easy to study in, but unfortunately that means it has less foot traffic. If you’re going up to those places, it’s important to let a friend know ‘hey, I’m going to be up here studying, come check on me,’” Grainger says.

The app was developed by CutCom Software, a company based out of Toronto.

It uses a system called AppArmor, and according to their website, similar apps are used in universities around the United States, Canada and Australia.

The UW Safe app is available on iTunes and from Google Play.

Published in Volume 72, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 14, 2017)

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