The University of New Mexico has leveraged the Rave Guardian safety app since 2015. Dubbed LoboGuardian, the app initially acted as a “mobile blue light,” but the campus has since reaped tangible benefits from its students being more alert.
According to a report from The Daily Lobo, since launch on campus in 2015, the app has been downloaded more than 1,200 times and during fall 2016 semester alone three unique tips were sent in via the app, while a further eight tips were sent this past spring.
University Emergency Manager Byron Piatt said the goal of the app is to provide students, staff and faculty with another tool to “strengthen their safety and emergency preparedness capabilities.”
The app is available for free download on either Android or iOS devices, and enables users to submit crime tips, live stream video to the UNM Police Department, and designate a “guardian” who will be alerted if the user does not arrive at a specified location at their pre established time.
It’s the reporting function, however, that has seemingly been a boon to the university’s pursuit of suspicious and criminal activity. The app has helped university police to recover a number of stolen bikes thanks to tips that were sent in by students. The app also allows police to stay in contact with the tipster in the event they are willing to further assist in an investigation.
Student interaction with the app has also helped authorities get a better hold on social media related tips, gaining valuable information that could have previously been overlooked.
“Some posts on social media are reported to us as suspicious, and we investigate these situations to determine their validity,” said Timothy Stump, UNMPD Lieutenant, in a Daily Lobo interview. “It has helped us locate people we may be looking for. When you have the ability to send anonymous ‘real time’ tips it makes it easier for someone to contact the police.”