Brown students, faculty and staff can now activate their cell phones for use as portable security devices, thanks to the Department of Public Safety’s recent launch of Rave Guardian, a software system designed to protect registered users across campus.
Rave Guardian, made by Rave Mobile Safety, provides students with two new ways of accessing Public Safety officers, according to a campus-wide e-mail sent last week by Michelle Nuey, manager of special services for DPS.
With the push of a single button, a cell phone user can send DPS a distress signal that includes the user’s name, picture and precise coordinates if the phone is equipped with GPS.
Students can also use Rave Guardian to set precautionary timers when walking alone or at night. By calling DPS and entering four-digit PINs, students can inform DPS of their locations and the amount of time they expect to take to get their destinations. If students do not disable the timer within the set timeframe, DPS will call to check on the students’ safety.
The launch of Rave Guardian is partially the result of a successful trial by Safewalkers, who took on the role of testing out the software last April.
Isabel Mattia ’11, a Safewalk supervisor, said several Safewalkers — many of them women — had used the software to help them return home safely after their late-night shifts.
While testers seemed to appreciate the timer function, they raised some questions about the utility of the panic button, Mattia said.
“People were like, ‘Why can’t I just put DPS on my speed dial?’” she said. “But (with the software) they get your name and a picture, a lot more information than if you just call.”
Some also worried that the GPS functionality would allow DPS officers to track their location at all times. But Nuey emphasized in her e-mail that Rave Guardian “is not an active GPS system that allows DPS to track your every move” and “can only be activated by you, the user.”
“I think it’s a great thing, we’re happy to have even more resources for students,” Mattia said, though some joke that Rave Guardian is “competition” for Safewalkers’ services.
To register for the service, people can create a user profile at getrave.com.
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