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How a Text Stopped a School Shooting

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Texting is a part of our daily lives. For many, it’s the preferred form of communication. Every day, mobile phone technology is used to talk to friends, set reminders or make appointments, and to complete other everyday tasks. For most, texting is integral to our everyday routine, but it can also be a crucial life-saving tool. Mobile phone technology has created new ways for safety managers to communicate quickly and effectively with the communities they keep safe. Texting technology has even prevented school shooting tragedies.

In recent years, active shooter situations have become a primary concern for campus police. When a student was reported to have a firearm in a dorm room at the University of South Florida, the University Police were able to intervene before anyone was hurt thanks to an anonymous tip submitted by a student.

It was a cold February afternoon when Campus Police received an anonymous tip that a student had a .25 caliber pistol in his dorm room. The report came through Rave Eyewitness, a function of the Rave911 Suite. Rave Eyewitness is a two-way text messaging platform that allows students and faculty to participate in aid law enforcement safety efforts by anonymously reporting crimes or suspicious activity via mobile phone. Establishing a 2 way text-to-tip hotline is a proven way to empower a community to actively participate in crime prevention. When a student was reported with a gun on campus, the Campus Police were able to instantly respond and learn the student’s identity and location through the Rave Eyewitness software.

The number of school shootings has increased exponentially in recent years. According to the Everytown Research Center, there have been over 200 school shootings in the United States since 2013, averaging one per week. The organization defines a school shooting as anytime a firearm is set off inside a school building, on a school campus, or anywhere on school grounds as documented by local law enforcement and verified by local news agencies when necessary. These numbers have inspired fear in many communities and on school campuses across the country. Many safety officials are now focusing on preventive, rather than reactive technology, as one way to address these concerns. The anonymous texting functionality of Rave Eyewitness is an innovative way to increase security on campus for faculty and students.

When the armed student was reported at the University of South Florida, Campus Police responded immediately. After learning the student’s identity and location on campus, the police confiscated the weapon and arrested the student. No one was hurt.

If the University officials had not been notified through the anonymous texting platform, they may never have identified the student and found the weapon. It only took a single text to prevent a school shooting, and thanks to Rave Eyewitness a tragedy was prevented.

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