Dublin City University (DCU) have launched an app which will allow students to access 24-hour campus security via their mobile phone.
The app, SafeZone, will be made available to the college’s 17,000 students and over 1,600 staff located on its Glasnevin, St Patrick’s and All Hallows campuses. The app consists of three buttons, which each indicate the degree of danger the user finds themself in, and the urgency of the situation. The options are first aid, help and emergency.
Once the app user presses one of the three options, the location of the user is then sent to campus security personnel who can coordinate to provide the necessary help. After downloading the app, users can input their name, student or staff ID, medical condition and bicycle serial number, so that when a user activates an emergency response, their location and ID is sent to DCU security.
The app works on a “check-in, check-out” basis. When checked in, DCU security staff know a user’s exact location on campus. Users are automatically checked out when they leave the campus. In addition to contacting campus services, users can contact national emergency services through the app.
The app can also be used on society trips. While on an organised trip associated with a college society, anyone who has downloaded the app can use it to alert the local emergency services. In this case, a notification of the alert will also be sent to DCU campus security.
DCU’s chief operations officer, Declan Raftery, has addressed privacy concerns. He stated that a user’s location is not shared, unless the user activates an alert for help within designated zones.
President of Dublin City University, Prof Brian MacCraith, stated that the app will allow campus security to respond “more effectively and efficiently” to students in need. DCU is the first Irish university to avail of the service, following multiple universities in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom utilizing the app.
DCU has stated that the implementation of the app was a “proactive” move and was not in response to an increase in assaults, theft or incidents on campus. The vice president of Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU), Podge Henry, stated said that: “There have been one or two instances this year already that I’ve been made aware of, luckily they weren’t severe, but an app would have been avoided if the app was in place.”
DCUSU president, Niall Behan, was recently struck with a bat during an attempted mugging while walking home from the college last month.