The University of Guelph campus is a safe place to work and learn, but what if there was an app that could enhance your safety while you are on campus?
Now there is. SafeGryphon is a new safety app for your smartphone and it’s free to download.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re walking back to your residence late at night. You see something that concerns you or you become concerned about your own or someone else’s safety. What can you do?
Campus Police Sgt. Steve Forbes explains: “When you have the SafeGryphon app on your smartphone, all you have to do is tap to open it. The interface is very easy to navigate.” You’ll see three red boxes and some personal safety information listed below. The app also contains the police Twitter feed so users can stay up to date with Campus Police through social media.
Tap the first red box, and it will take you to a screen that allows you to call 911, Guelph Police Service or the University of Guelph Campus Community Police. There’s no need to remember the phone number or even navigate to your phone’s keypad screen. Just three taps and the call is placed.
Another resource on the app allows you to quickly report any suspicious activities to the Campus Police online reporting system. You can also attach photos or videos you have taken.
Want to attract attention and get some help? The app has a second red button that activates a loud alarm; if the phone is set on silent, the app can override it. Having trouble finding your way because it’s dark? Another tap will turn on the flashlight, and you’ll have a bright light to illuminate your path or help you find the keys you dropped.
Real-time mapping will help you find your way around. It shows you where you are on campus and indicates the names of nearby buildings. SafeGryphon also provides safety tips, on-campus resources and the option to email your location to a friend using the GPS in your smartphone.
The most important function of SafeGryphon is the ability to provide push notifications on your smartphone even if the app is not running. Forbes explains: “This is particularly important when there is an urgent situation on campus as this is one way the University will disseminate information, such as an emergency on campus or an announcement that the University is closed due to weather.”
He adds: “Apps similar to this are already in use at other schools, and we know people find them useful. We recommend it not just for students, but for staff, faculty and even visitors who are on campus regularly as a simple way to connect with Campus Police or to search for safety-related information.”
The SafeGryphon app has been developed for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones. To download it, visit your phone’s app store and search for SafeGryphon.
For more information about Campus Police or SafeGryphon, visit www.police.uoguelph.ca.