UNC Launches Mobile App for Campus Safety

Students and faculty have in the past complained about Alert Carolina and the timeliness of the alerts it sends to students, faculty and staff. The university and the Department of Public Safety have been working all summer to change that. Earlier this summer, they unveiled the “one button” system that automates these alerts, by the touch of one of the five buttons.

But now there’s a new component to campus safety. It’s an app called LiveSafe.

“If you are walking at 2:00 A.M. from South Building to the library and you designated me as your friend, I could monitor your travels and we could communicate en route,” said Derek Kemp, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety and Risk Management at UNC.

Kemp said one of the features of the app lets your friend or family see where you are with a GPS-based SafeWalk feature. Another feature lets you send a report to UNC public safety officials.

“It could be suspicious activity,” he said. “It could be a safety hazard, and it also provides the ability to provide that information anonymously, it also allows the individual to forward pictures.”

The new app replaces RaveGuardian, an app with fewer features and a lower user rate. Kemp says he thinks more students will opt to use LiveSafe because students are behind the whole thing.

“On something like this, when you’re going to go out and encourage people to use a new system or tool, it’s always helpful if they’re advocates from day one,” he said.

Kemp also said UNC is working with LiveSafe to directly connect the app to Alert Carolina, so users can directly receive all notifications from the program. He says overall, the goal is to make the campus safer by making all resources as streamlined as possible, although the “one button” upgrade earlier this summer has already helped.

“To go from awareness to alert, it used to be about a 15 minute process and now that’s down to about a two or three minute process,” Kemp said. “So it’s all tied into that greater effort, to that continual effort to make this campus safer.”



‘Alert Carolina’ System Adds New Buttons, Saves More Time

If there’s an emergency on campus, Alert Carolina will tell you about it. But when? The timeliness of Alert Carolina’s updates has been a cause of concern for students and community members.

But this summer, UNC’s Department of Public Safety, or DPS, is introducing a “One Button” system. This new approach automates all the alerts – the texts, emails, tweets and website updates – at the touch of a button.

“What this new technology allows us to do is to set all of those in motion and have them all activated within a couple of minutes,” said Randy Young, the spokesperson for DPS.

Young said this new, one-touch alert system has turned a 15 minute process into a three minute one. Once the button is pushed, the automation sends out predetermined messages to all the same distribution points that in the past, would have been done manually.

“One of the ways we’ve found efficiency is by having pre-worded messages. They at least get the basic information about what the scenario is, so people can take action immediately.”

These pre-worded messages alert the community of three possible emergencies – an armed and dangerous person, a tornado or storm, or a fire or toxic release. While the message doesn’t include details of the situation, Young says the goal is to alert people quickly.

“The paramount message that we put out is to get to safety. The who’s, what’s and why’s we would certainly fill in with due haste, but we want to make sure that folks are safe first.”

Young says the system will continue to evolve as technology improves.

“This is not a destination, it is just one project in an ongoing evolution of this messaging.”

DPS plans to implement the new system by the start of the school year.


Pre-Game Duke Graffiti Found on UNC’s Campus

On Wednesday, a day before the rescheduled UNC-Duke basketball matchup, the rivalry had already inspired some mischief, in the form of vandalism on UNC’s campus.

As The Daily Tar Heel first reported, a few buildings on UNC’s campus were spraypainted with familiar slogans early Wednesday morning.

Randy Young, UNC’s Department of Public Safety spokesman, tells WCHL that the graffiti either badmouthed UNC, or mentioned Duke.

“There were three that were reported to us today, said Young. “And we all believe that it’s, in all likelihood, related incidents.”

Those were at the South Building, the Campus Y and the Student Union.

Another incident was reported recently, regarding NC State-themed graffiti painted in red against a red façade. UNC Public Safety officers believe that incident happened earlier this season.

Young says that, fortunately, vandalism like this doesn’t happen every year.

“Some folks feel that it’s a longstanding tradition,” he says. “There have been incidents that dated back decades, of course. It is not something that happens every single year.

“Prank or not, we do take it very seriously when it comes to matters of damage to university property – as would any officials as Duke University as well.”

And, he adds, anybody getting caught committing vandalism could be in for serious legal trouble.

Young says that cooperation between UNC’s public safety officers and their counterparts at Duke regarding this issue is where all attitudes about a rivalry get put aside.

So he warns against any UNC students committing some equal form of retaliation.

“If there’s information that we can work in collaboration to arrive at with Duke University police, then we don’t rule that out as well.”

Young has a request for people walking around UNC’s campus, at this, or any time of year.

“We would like to say to the campus community and beyond that if anybody sees suspicious activity – and this is not just related to this series of incidents, but any incident on campus, that they call 911,” Young says.

Young says that while he appreciates the tradition of pranks and one-upsmanship, there’s no reason that graffiti needs to cause expensive damage.

“We have a cube, upon which things can be painted for free expression in our pit area,” Young says. “Folks have not availed themselves of that.”

He can’t recall too many folks getting caught for spraying game-related graffiti on campus, but there was one memorable incident.

“There were some folks, a number of years ago, that spray-painted, using red paint, on the eve of the University of North Carolina and NC State basketball game,” he recalls.

“And some graffiti was put on the bell tower, and other prominent areas of campus. I believe we were able to identify those folks because they were fairly proud of the artwork and had posted it on Facebook.”


Sexual Assault Reported On UNC’s Campus Thursday

CHAPEL HILL – Police are asking for your help if you have any information concerning a reported sexual assault that happened Thursday morning on UNC’s campus.

The victim, a female UNC student, was entering Carroll Hall at 8:15 a.m., and stated that the suspect came from behind and “forcefully slapped” her on the buttocks.  The suspect then fled the building and was last seen heading south toward South Road.

The suspect was an unidentified black male about 20 years old with dreadlocks, according to the victim.  He was wearing a black, red and white baseball cap with a royal blue “skull cap” underneath; long dark basketball shorts; a dark short sleeved T-shirt; and a royal blue “two string” back pack.  The victim also reported that the suspect may have been wearing neon in color ear-buds.

Anyone with information can contact UNC Police Department at 919-843-6165 or contact the Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515. Calls are confidential and anonymous.  You can also submit information to Crime Stoppers online at www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.