Whats all the RAVE on campus about

Erron Thomas, Staff Writer

The University of New Orleans is home to thousands of people. How is it remotely possible for a single department to keep every person on this campus safe? Departments utilize various tactics to protect students on campus—systems like a rotating on duty surveillance of campus grounds, real camera footage, standard 911 phone line. While these practices are useful, what if there are blind spots on campus? Or how does an officer efficiently respond to calls that aren’t in their vicinity? 


No, there isn’t some complex party system set up, where the police can be readily available to students in distress. RAVE the Guardian is a mobile safety app. The organization has created a special niche for itself as it relates to safety on college campuses. 


According to  a recent press release by the company, the impact that they are making is evident. “The RAVE alert platform covers nearly half of all higher education student populations in the United States.” The company’s reach is so vast, it’s almost confusing why the app is not more popularly known. The company began in 2004 and as of today has “five of the eight Ivy League schools and ten of the fourteen big ten schools.” The company is far from being a waste, building from results with numbers like those.


The Police Department seeks “help in getting the word out about the software.” After hearing all the possibilities the app has to offer, it’s truly shocking knowing that the app is not a requirement for college students. Specifically, ones attending the University of New Orleans. 


“Take a look at the screen here,” says Chief Harrington. The Chief and a couple of his deputies crowd the oddly spacious dispatcher office. “Now wherever you are on campus, through this app you are able to get in contact with us,” Harrington says. “Show him how it works; send a text.” The deputy sends a mock distress text. “Help!” reads the pop up alert on the screen. Amongst an array of surveillance monitors sits a nonstop display of the RAVE software. An interactive map of campus is constantly on the screen. A red exclamation with a toggle menu pops up. The toggle menu shows the sender’s location as well as the displayed message. The department has the ability to send instant messages from the office to the sender, as well as being able to deploy anyone in surrounding areas to investigate the message. With the monitors that the dispatch has, whoever is there is able to change the camera to the given location.


Along with the ability to instant message with an officer, the RAVE mobile safety app offers a number of features that keep students safe. “If you’re out in the library studying late, you can contact an officer and get an escort to your car or dorm room,” explains Harrington. Even if you don’t feel as though your situation isn’t that serious, but could use the peace of mind, the app offers a virtual escort. This allows students to talk with an officer while making the long trip in the dark of the night. 


The free app for students offers other useful features. As opposed to being labeled the campus snitch, the RAVE guardian possesses a function called Confidential Tip Submission. Here, one can initiate texts with the department about anything suspicious. Not only does this app prevent not speaking up when you see something, it also allows for a relationship to be built between students and the police department. Geo-targeted notifications are another well-liked feature, allowing campus faculty the ability to target notifications to certain locations. 


You’re probably asking yourself why you don’t have this app. Why isn’t this app more commonly known? Well, there’s no reason why every student on UNO’s campus shouldn’t have this app in their arsenal. The Police Department did share that the university recently began working with the software. Therefore it is very new to campus, although, with all its easy to use, potentially life-saving features, RAVE needs to be all over this campus. Help keep this campus safe and download the app.