LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We created the Guarded app to help you help keep yourself safe
To the Editor:
Like other students on Central Michigan University’s campus, we hear your concern for student safety loud and clear. I understand how scary it can be walking alone on a college campus, especially during the winter months when it is dark by 6 p.m.
My girlfriend and I recognized this issue her freshman year at CMU. She had a class that got out at 9 p.m. and had to walk from one side of campus to the other. She would call me, her family or anyone that would listen so she felt safer walking back home. We decided there had to be a better and more efficient solution to the problem.
Two years ago, we set out to create this solution, and through many trials and tribulations, we came out with Guarded — a mobile app for college students. Guarded takes the functionality of a Blue Light phone and puts it in the palm of your hand.
Simply hold down the “alert” button on Guarded when you are walking alone or feel unsafe. If your finger leaves this button, you have exactly 10 seconds to enter a custom PIN you set up, or five contacts of your choice will be alerted of your exact GPS position and the campus police phone number.
We knew that student safety went way beyond being uncomfortable on campus though, so we packed Guarded with more features. Campus maps, emergency hotlines for campus police, national assault hotlines, etc. We also have a feature that contacts the Central Michigan University Police Department to report a crime at the touch of a button. Another feature Guarded has is its “shake-to-fake” call, in which the user simply shakes their phone and a fake phone call appears. (Imagine getting out of a bad date or awkward conversation using this feature.)
The best part about Guarded is that it is 100 percent free on the iOS App Store for anyone with a CMU email address. Also, it addresses your No. 1 concern — location. Guarded works everywhere your phone can get service or Wi-Fi.
We truly think that solutions like Guarded are imperative for universities to start implementing, and we want to be on the forefront of that movement.
We hope to make Guarded the face of campus safety, and let students know they are not alone.