The University of Chicago, together with the campus Police Department, is launching a new smart phone application called Pathlight that will enable students an easy-to-use way to increase their own safety.
Developed by The CBORD Group, the same company that maintains the university’s campus ID-based building security system, Pathlight enables students to opt into GPS tracking services for their phones so that location information is transmitted to campus dispatchers or security office personnel in case of an emergency.
If a student, for example, is walking alone at night across campus, all they need to do is launch the app, enter the required information and press “Follow Me Now” to initiate tracking. The University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) would then be able to remotely track the student’s presence and progress until the walk is over, simulating somewhat of a virtual safety escort, but that is less resource-intensive for the UCPD.
If a student feels in immediate danger at any time, a “Help” button allows student to trigger a silent alarm which immediately notifies dispatches of the student’s location and need for immediate assistance. In this way, Pathlight functions almost as a portable blue light.
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