It was the the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in US history. In April of 2007; 33 Virginia Tech students were killed on campus. The massacre was a wake-up for campuses here and around the country. Now new technologies are keeping students safer.
The Virginia Tech massacre four years ago was a game changer, and part of what prompted Framingham State University campus police to deploy new technology last fall to make campuses safer.
“In the 21st century we are out there like any law enforcement today. It’s more complex today than it was before,” said Framingham State University Campus Police Chief Brad Medieros.
With the click of a mouse, the Rave Mobile Safety Alert instantly sends texts and e-mails campus wide in the event of an emergency.
“Whether it’s hazardous material on campus or an armed intruder or a fire, we can send out an emergency alert immediately,” said Medieros.
Earlier this month the new technology stabilized a second incident at Virginia Tech, when a man killed a police officer, then himself. But the technology doesn’t stop there. Part of the security package includes Rave’s “Eyewitness.”
“Eyewitness is an awesome tool,” said Medieros.
It may be a break in, a suspicious person or an assault.
“If you don’t feel comfortable reporting you can send an anonymous text and it goes straight to campus public safety,” said Todd Peitt, of Rave Mobile Safety.
Violent viral videos like one earlier this month showing a student beating at Dean College might have been stopped had someone used the “Eyewitness” tool.
Another safety tool called “Guardian” allows a student to dial in their comings and goings to campus police, if they might be anxious about their personal safety late at night.
“We can bread crumb students as they walk across campus and then we’ll notify campus immediately saying ‘Rhonda didn’t get here when she was expected. Here’s a picture, here’s the route she was going, here’s the message she left,’” said Piett.
The Rave mobile safety systems are currently implemented on 500 campuses nationwide. Here in Massachusetts, along with Framingham State and Boston College, all of the U-mass campuses plan to deploy them soon.