University of Kentucky launches smartphone app to help keep students, staff safe

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Kentucky is now offering a new safety measure to protect its students and the technology will be right at their fingertips.

If you take a look around any college campus you will see students with their cell phones. UK Students said they wanted to feel safer and the student government put a solution right in their hands.

"Through our research, we discovered a new technology through the one thing nearly every student has. A cell phone," said Jake Ingram, SGA President. 

UK is now the first university in Kentucky to use the LiveSafe App.

LiveSafe is an app for your smartphone that connects students, faculty and staff on campus and in the surrounding community with campus police.

"[The] innovative two-way communication with UK PD officers provides an opportunity for students to seek emergency help and seek tips in ways our generation is most adept, smart phone apps and texting," said Ingram.

UK LiveSafe is free to download. The cost is split between SGA and UK Central Administration. The App has four main functions including tip reporting. 

"[Tips] such as suspicious activity, mental health concerns or even sexual assaults that have occurred," said Joe Monroe, UK Police Chief. "They're also able to utilize different features of it and send us video or snapshot pictures."

With GPS, officers know exactly where to go in the event of a crime. Students can also make emergency calls or messages, and police can communicate back. A safety map shows safe locations and information on the latest crimes in the area. 

A virtual buddy system called Safewalk gets users home safely. Users can also request a safe ride or walking escort. 

"It enables us to empower our students and our staff to take more ownership in their campus safety by turning their smartphone into a powerful safety tool," said Monroe.

The app was co-founded by a Virginia Tech shooting survivor and is currently used in 22 states.

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