Department of Public Safety dispatcher Morgan Meehan, one of several individuals on the receiving end of your Drexel Guardian service, can use the information you share through the app to help assist you in an emergency.
Well, it’s not an actual hulk of a bodyguard who’s walking in your shadow with an eye out for trouble. But it’s close. Drexel Guardian is an app that turns your smartphone into a personal safety device. A one-touch button sends a communication directly to Drexel’s Department of Public Safety, and within seconds an officer can find you and assist you.
Drexel’s Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with mobile-safety company Rave Guardian, has been busy testing and fine-tuning the app to have it ready in time for the start of the new academic year. The new app is an upgrade of the previous Drexel Guardian service, which delivered a panic-call communication to the department’s dispatchers. The most important step is creating a profile, which could be very valuable information for dispatchers should you find yourself in an emergency. But users are always in control of how much information they want share. After creating a profile directly through the app, users will find the three main one-stop buttons:
- Set a Safety Timer – Notify Drexel Police or people you trust to check in on you if you are alone or in an unfamiliar place by setting a safety timer.
- Manage and Message Your Guardians – Invite family, friends or others to be your Guardians, and communicate with them within the app.
- Easy Emergency Communication – Call safety officials directly for help if you are in trouble through one-touch dialing and send text tips — including photos — if you see something suspicious.
The app's profile setup is quick and easy for a reason, said Maurizio DeLisi, associate director of operations for the department. “We know people in the Drexel community don’t have time to play around,” he says. “They have to study.”
DeLisi pointed out that all profile information provided is encrypted and safely stored. It can only be viewed by the Department of Public Safety when contact is made through the app, either by calling the immediate activation line or by having the safety timer expire.
Another feature of the app is anonymous text messaging. If a member of the Drexel community sees something suspicious, he or she can send an anonymous text message directly to the dispatchers at Public Safety.
“We want to encourage positive bystander intervention,” said DeLisi. “We want people to feel comfortable reporting crimes — some are reluctant to do so if their face is attached to it. But now they can text us and the dispatcher can receive this info and correspond with them. And they can even upload pictures.”
Drexel students, faculty and staff are invited to download the new Drexel Guardian app now or by searching “Rave Guardian” in the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play Store for Android phones (sorry, the app isn’t available for Windows phones). To learn more about the app, check out this list of Frequently Asked Questions.