The SafeMSU mobile application, which was announcedon Nov. 19, was released on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store on Dec. 13.
The app was originally proposed by the Michigan State University Police Department to the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, on Sept. 23.
MSUPD Public Information Officer Chris Rozman said in November that the app was in response to feedback from the MSU and East Lansing community, with many pointing to other large campuses around the nation that already had such a resource.
“(The app) was based on feedback that we had received from the community, particularly our student body, about having a safety app,” Rozman said. “Because a lot of other large campuses have a safety app that they put into student’s hands.”
SafeMSU does not require an internet connection to be used, however some features do require students to use cellular-based services outside of the app.
In addition to its safety features, the app contains a campus map and the most updated Clery Crime and fire log.
Eight safety features are present in the app’s current version. The State News has broken down each one to help you better understand what you’re getting, even if it's a free download.
LINK TO ASMSU SAFE RIDE
One of the most MSU-centric features present in the SafeMSU app is a link to ASMSU’s safe ride program. Safe Ride is not directly integrated, however, and students will be taken to the program’s website in order to actually request a pickup.
The Safe Ride program has been proven to decrease the number of drunk drivers and assault-related cases, according to ASMSU.
For a more streamlined experience ordering safe rides, ASMSU recommends downloading the TransLoc app, which is available on the Apple Store and Google Play Store.
In the same vein as the Safe Ride tile, SafeMSU offers the ability to call Capital Area Transportation Service, or CATA’s, Lot Link and Night Owl services.
Lot Link provides evening and weekend transportation to MSU parking lots 80, 83, 89 or 91— lots that are typically difficult to travel to outside of weekday bus routes.
The Lot Link program can only be used on campus and must begin or end at one of the parking lots mentioned above.
CATA’s Night Owl service allows students to request a pickup between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekends. According to CATA, a small bus will pick students up within 20 minutes of request.
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The Night Owl service is only available for travel between campus locations.
Fares will run students 60 cents with a valid MSU student ID. Student semester passes are also available, with SafeMSU linking to the program’s webpage for those that are interested in purchasing one.
The SafeMSU app enables students to call both CATA services from its menu.
Friend Walk is a feature that aims to allow students to have trusted individuals track their movements when traveling to a new destination.
The feature can be accessed directly through the SafeMSU app. When utilized, the app will send a text message to selected individuals and will allow them to see both the user’s location and proposed destination. The user can then end the Friend Walk when they reach the end of their route.
Additionally, Friend Walk also lets the user send an emergency text to the trusted individual at any time during their travel, as well as subsequently enabling the user to make an emergency call via the SafeMSU app.
EMERGENCY CONTACTS AND TIP LINE
While technically two separate features, the “Emergency Contacts” and “Report a Tip” tiles both allow users to access MSUPD and other emergency services from the SafeMSU app.
Emergency contacts present include a 9-1-1 link and a non-emergency MSUPD phone number. The “Report a Tip” feature gives users access to an anonymous SMS “Text-A-Tip” line or toll-free tip line phone number.
The SafeMSU app provides a gallery of campus-based support services under its “Support Resources” tile.
Services are categorized, ranging from “How to get immediate support” to “Where you can go if you want to talk.” Programs provided include MSU Safe Place, Center for Survivors and the Sexual Assault Healthcare Program.
While the services themselves aren’t directly integrated into the app, website links and phone numbers are provided to all seven offered.
EMERGENCY PLANS AND MSU ALERT ACCESS
Updated emergency plans for six different disasters or emergencies are present in-app. These situations include active shooter, bomb threat, evacuation, fire safety, suspicious package and severe weather.
Rozman said in September that these plans are being actively updated on a regular basis via MSUPD’s emergency management division.
The MSU Alert tile allows users to check their sign-up status for MSU’s Mass Notification System— allowing the university to communicate with students in situations such as those mentioned above.
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