Public Safety at Your Fingertips
by Andrew Magown | published Mar. 8th, 2014
As of January, 55 percent of Americans own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research center. Concurrently, RIT’s Public Safety released its newest feature of campus safety for students in the form of a smartphone application called TigerSafe on December 7.
TigerSafe is a free downloadable app available on both Android Google Play and iOS App Store. Students sign in with their RIT accounts, allowing them to input any information they think Public Safety would require in case of emergency situations.
“I was tasked with seeing if this was even an option,” recalled Tony Yazback, Investigator for Public Safety. “What happened was the Public Safety department put out a perception survey to the RIT community and one of the things that came back is how we can reach them with better technology.”
Yazback began to search for students he knew could help build the app. He approached multiple Residential Advisors at RIT in 2011 to see who was willing to help. The student most interested was Eric Irish, an RIT graduate from the Saunders College of Business and TigerSafe’s eventual developer.
Eventually the two began collaborating to see if constructing such a concept was possible and in the summer of 2011 began creating the app. In addition to TigerSafe, Irish has taken the same concept and created CampusSafe, an app that uses the same layout with the intention of being used by campuses across America.
Irish designed the app so that after a report, call or request is made to Public Safety, the department receives a small popup of the phone’s location on their communication center’s monitors. Displayed on a campus map, the popup provides a small image resembling the type of incident. Using the student’s account, officers can quickly review any important information about the student in need. After the request is fulfilled, the department simply selects an option to resolve the issue, filing it away with the other reports made on campus.
The app provides several tabs, each with important features only accessible on campus. TigerSafe’s first tab is a detailed listing of contact information and links to RIT sites. Easily visible, the page also gives the option to text Public Safety rather than call them.
The second tab provides multiple reporting options for students in need of help. This varies from needing a jumpstart in cold weather to requesting an escort for personal safety. The most important feature is located on the third tab, which provides the emergency assistance blue light button. Users need only hold down the button for a short duration to bring up the option to either call or text Public Safety.
For further questions, please contact Public Safety at (585) 475-2853 or visit their office in Grace Watson Hall.