ROCK HILL, S.C. - If you ask most college students what is the one thing they don't go anywhere without, the answer will likely be their smartphone. A new effort at Winthrop University will use that technology as a safety device.
"This will be a real time notification. They can attach a picture of the crime in progress, they can attach a video, audio and send it to us," said Winthrop University Campus Police Chief Frank Zebedis.
Zebedis says they hope this app will allow officers to arrive while a crime is still in progress or even before it happens. If you are being followed, Zebedis says you can discreetly report that through the app. If you want to remain anonymous, GPS coordinates will guide police to the problem area.
"Having that right there with the touch of a button would be pretty simple," said Daniel Derrer, a sophomore.
Zebedis also says that a check-in feature will let your mom or dad know you arrived
somewhere safe, or that you're running late.
"I think that's a great advancement for technology, especially for young ladies like myself," said Jessie Fulwood, a freshman.
Last December, a student told Rock Hill police she was kidnapped, then raped
off-campus. Just last week Zebedis says a suspicious package on campus turned out to be a hoax. He says those are both examples of where this app could have helped solve a crime.
"Had someone seen that going on they could have snapped a picture and sent it to us at that time," he said.
Zebedis says that the University is working with a company called Crime Push. The company tells Eyewitness News that Winthrop is the fourth school to use this app.
We're told that anyone will be able to download this app. It will allow users to report a crime to campus police from anywhere. Campus officers are planning an education campaign to make sure people know what to report and where.
University police plan to roll the app out for the beginning of the spring semester.