Winthrop unveils new Smartphone app to combat crime

adouglas@heraldonline.comJanuary 30, 2013 

— Winthrop University is using a version of a Smartphone app called Crime Push to bolster campus safety and help students report crime.

The university rolled recently rolled out “WU Watch,” a free app for iPhones and Droid phones.

Anyone with the app download can submit crime tips with text, photo, video and audio related to crimes and emergencies. Campus Police receives the GPS location of the phone along with the emergency message or crime tip.

Winthrop is using “WU Watch” in addition to its “WU Alert” system, which sends text message notifications to students, faculty and staff during emergency situations.

The benefit of “WU Watch,” the university says, is that parents, friends and visitors can download the app and receive updates and report crime.

Campus Police Chief Frank Zebedis has been “a national leader” in meeting the growing student and family safety expectations on campuses nationwide, Winthrop officials said.

The app has a “check-in” function that students can use to automatically report to family members that they have reached their destination safely. “WU Watch” also features a flashlight which uses the phone’s camera flash option as a light beam.

Winthrop’s cost to make “WU Watch” available was $2,000.

Versions of the Crime Push app are being used nationwide by other colleges, school districts and law enforcement agencies. The app was created by a law student in New Hampshire.

Crime Push was featured on CNN as a valuable safety tool for kids after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting.

Search “WU Watch” through the iPhone app store or through Google Play for Droid phones to download Winthrop’s safety app.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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