By Nico Zulli
Safety has gone mobile. Just when we thought the smartphone could do it all, yet another function has been added to its diverse repertoire: security guard.
Thanks to the newly available BlueLight Mobile App, Baylor students no longer have to feel nervous about early morning walks to campus, late night walks from Moody Memorial Library, or middle-of-the-day runs around the Bear Trail.
“Baylor has been enabled on our mobile app called BlueLight,” said Preet Anand, founder of the BlueLight Mobile App. “Students wanted the app so that they would feel safer around Baylor’s campus and that it would give them a quick way to get help.”
The addition of this app to the Baylor campus community is a direct reaction to the demands of its student population and ranks it among few schools in the country to take strides in providing security with the latest, most efficient technology possible.
Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said the app has not been tested by the Baylor Police Department. He said there is no contract with Bluelight. There are no plans to work with the app in the future. Doak said the app is available for students to use at their discretion.
The app includes schools such as Harvard University, Stanford University and Michigan State among others.
Traditionally, Blue Light Emergency towers, manufactured by Talk-A-Phone, find their home in most high-risk areas of college campuses around the country. Baylor students have access to over 200 of these call boxes on campus. The towers are each equipped with a button that would not only provide an exact location to police, but also summon their assistance instantly.
The blue light on top of the tower lights up when the button is pressed in order to allow police clear visibility from a far distance.
As stated on Talk-A-Phone’s website, the physical existence of these towers is intended to provide high visibility and prevent crimes from occurring.
The BlueLight app, however, offers a service to schools that a physical tower does not.
The app’s website states that the BlueLight app, because of its portability, demonstrates university campuses’ commitment to student safety with the most cutting-edge advantage.
The BlueLight app works when phones go down and will still record the location of students who need help.
It is also easy to use and requires little to no maintenance, the site states.
“Downloading the app literally only takes a few seconds,” said Greenwood Village, Colo., senior Alex Kenworthy. “It only takes two taps for you to either get in touch with campus police or send texts of your location to your emergency contacts.”
Once the app is downloaded, students are prompted to select their university, provide their personal school email, and then enter their top three emergency contacts.
The main display of the app is one blue button and one green button, which contact campus safety and alerts emergency contacts, respectively.
Castle Rock, Colo., senior Katie Kennedy said the comfort of knowing she can rely on this new technology makes her feel safe.
“I am always around campus at random hours of the day and I feel so much safer knowing that this app is on my phone,” she said. “I always have my phone with me and now this app allows it to act as protection in case I am ever in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation anywhere on campus.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited to clarify that Baylor is in no way related to the Bluelight App and is simply an option for students to use.