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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Phone apps promote safety on college campus

    %09Screenshot+by+Rebecca+Noble+%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0A%09The+Circle+of+6+app+allows+users+to+contact+a+network+of+people+in+case+they+sense+a+potential+threat.+It+was+launched+in+2012+and+is+free+to+download.+

    Screenshot by Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat

    The Circle of 6 app allows users to contact a network of people in case they sense a potential threat. It was launched in 2012 and is free to download.

    Mobile technology provides a way to prevent incidents of sexual assault on college campuses with the creation of three applications available for download on smartphones.

    While the UA campus is a relatively safe place to live and pursue an education, the threat of sexual assault is still a hindrance to the population, and these apps could potentially prevent a dangerous situation.

    Known as the “red zone,” the first couple of weeks on a new campus are the most vulnerable period for students. With proper education and subsequent action, it can be avoided or at the very least reported.

    Circle of 6

    The Circle of 6 application allows the user to choose a network of six individuals from their phone’s contacts to alert in case of potential danger. The app sends automated texts to friends asking for relationship advice, pretend phone calls and a safe ride away from a situation. Circle of 6 is a good free download for some pocket-held protection.

    bSafe

    More of a technological watchdog than a mere app, bSafe allows the user to enable alerts and customize its tracking feature, which maps the user’s path and allows their friends to see their location. Despite this helicopter-parent type of surveillance, the app serves as an optimal outlet for preventing a risky situation.

    Kitestring

    For those who plan ahead of time, Kitestring allows the user to input how long they will be out. The site will check up on you throughout the night and alert emergency contacts if you don’t respond.

    “It is best not to be totally dependent on [the apps],” said Sgt. Fil Barrera of the University of Arizona Police Department. “They aren’t always reliable.”

    Barrera said that these phone applications are best viewed as an additional tool for staying safe on campus. UAPD encourages anyone who is a victim of or witness to any crime to promptly report it to the department. Victims may also take advantage of the anonymous toll-free hotline, 88-CRIME.

    Kathleen Young, head coordinator of the Oasis Program at Campus Health Service, said that the organization provides all students supportive consolation, trauma-focused therapy and free support groups. These resources focus on prevention, response and cultural understanding of sexual trauma.

    With the creation of these applications, we ­as a tech-savvy community are one step closer to achieving a safer academic environment for both women and men and understanding the larger implications behind sexual violence.

    —Follow Alex Paletta @DailyWildcat

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