7 essential apps for college campus safety

News, Crime

Move over Snapchat. It’s time for students and their smartphones to get serious about safety as they head back to school this fall. Here are seven apps every college student needs, addressing everything from sexual assault to drunk driving to suicide prevention.

The following smartphone apps are free for the basic version and most are available for both iPhone and Android.

1. Prevent sexual assault           

Circle of 6 lets you contact six designated friends in just two taps when you’re in a sticky situation and fear for your safety. Send them pre-formed messages to request a phone call or a pick-up. Friends receive your GPS information so they can find you easily.  This app won the “Apps Against Abuse” challenge issued by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year. Similar app: OnWatchn Campus.

2. Feel safe walking alone

Use bSafe when you have to walk alone, especially at night. You can let friends virtually walk with you by tracking your movements, or you can use the timer mode to indicate how long it should take you to arrive somewhere. If you don’t check in before that time, your friends will be alerted. Similar app: MyForce. Also consider Kitestring, which is not an app but a text messaging service that also has you check in. 

3. Report crimes to authorities in real time

LiveSafe, developed by a survivor of the deadly 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, allows users to report suspicious activity to nearby police and to receive neighborhood safety reports. It also has some features of personal safety apps, like a panic button to alert authorities and the option to tell friends you’re walking alone somewhere. Similar apps: TapShield, Guardly. 

4. Determine if you can drive

With Avvo’s own Last Call app for iPhone, input the drinks you’ve consumed to determine your approximate blood alcohol content and whether you can safely drive. It can also connect you with DUI attorneys in your area. Similar apps: DrinkTracker and Breathaleyes, an app that does not track drinks but examines involuntary eye movement to determine intoxication. 

5. Get a cab

Curb, formerly Taxi Magic, lets you request a ride and pay for it easily. Similar apps: Uber, Lyft, Easy Taxi. 

6. Keep track of your mental health

WhatsMyM3 lets you track your mental health over time through a confidential 27-question quiz. You’ll find out if you’re at risk for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder, and how to get help if you are. Similar app: Optimism.

7. Prevent suicide

Operation Reach Out was created for the military, but it works to address suicide among college students too. Use it to connect to national suicide prevention hotlines or to friends you’ve designated to help you in times of trouble. You can also use the app to get information on how to handle suicidal thoughts that you or others might be experiencing. Similar app: Just in Case, which is implemented at the campus-wide level. Ask your college to get on board if they don’t already have it.