Introducing Rave Guardian, a free personal safety app available to all Boise State University students and faculty.
The app provides several resources to the Boise State community, including a tip line, a safety timer, a list of emergency procedures and a quick way to contact the Department of Public Safety or 911.
For students who might feel unsafe walking through campus alone, the safety timer adds an extra measure of caution. Assuming it takes 15 minutes to walk home, all the user has to do is set a timer for any length of time in the app and turn it off when they’ve safely reached their destination. If the user does not turn off their timer, an alert with the user’s GPS location is sent out to the Department of Public Safety.
Alternatively, an individual can request for their location to be sent to a “guardian” instead. Users can register a parent, friend or trusted adult as their guardian in the app.
“You can designate who your guardian is,” said Tana Monroe, director of Security, Police and Event Operations at Boise State. “It could be the security department, it could be our public safety department, but you can also decide, ‘I want my mom or my friend as my guardian.’”
Setting a personal contact as a guardian is especially helpful when the user is not on campus. The safety timer can be set up no matter where you are, but it cannot contact Boise State unless you’re near the university.
In regards to location data, Rave Guardian states that “you can only be located when you have asked for help.” The user’s location is tracked when making an emergency call or after their safety timer expires.
The Boise State University crime log shows that in 2021 there were over a dozen reports of sexual assault and battery on campus, nearly all of which were reported between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Rave Guardian’s safety timer offers a layer of protection for individuals walking alone on campus late at night.
If an individual uses the app to contact the Department of Public Safety, whether by directly calling or by setting them as their guardian, the university will follow up to ensure the user is safe.
“Generally we’ll send a security officer and a police officer to go meet with [the caller] and figure out what’s going on,” Monroe said. “But if it’s a true emergency situation we still recommend that people call 911.”
Rave Guardian can also be used to report tips to the Department of Public Safety. These tips can include health violations, harassment, assault, accidents and any other incident an individual feels should be reported.
Those wishing to stay anonymous have the option to do so by submitting their tip anonymously to the Department of Public Safety through the app.
In 2021, Boise State had nearly 100 reported instances of both petty theft and grand theft, according to the campus crime logs. The tip line is an effective way for issues like theft to be reported to the university.
In addition to the Rave Guardian app, Boise State University still provides emergency blue-light phones across campus that allow the user to contact the Department of Public Safety or 911.
“We’re looking at keeping the [blue-light phone] program,” Monroe said. “There are times people don’t have their phones (or) their phones are dead, and that’s still another option.”
Boise State isn’t the only university to use Rave Guardian. The app is used by campuses across the country. Roughly 65% of the higher education population attend a university that utilizes the app, according to data from Rave Guardian.
Although the app is available to all students and faculty, not everyone has taken advantage of the app’s potential. According to Monroe, Boise State has roughly 1,000 active users of Rave Guardian, a mere fraction of its student body.
“I would highly encourage everyone to download it,” Monroe said. “Anything we can do to increase the safety of our campus is important.”
Monroe also mentioned the Department of Public Safety’s goal to expand the app’s features to include more campus resources and integrate with Bronco Alert, Boise State’s emergency notification system.
Rave Guardian is available for free download on both IOS and Android devices. Those without the app can still contact Boise State’s Department of Public Safety at (208) 426-6911 or email@example.com.