ASU students discuss new safety app

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- As students head back to class at Arizona State University campuses, they now have a new safety tool available at their fingertips.

"Just to click the emergency button or reports or view the map to get somewhere, it's helpful, would seem helpful," said ASU student Jason Trujillo.

The university just launched the ASU LiveSafe App.

It lets students report tips anonymously to campus police and call for help in an emergency. It also provides real-time chatting and video capabilities.

"There's a GPS feature to it that helps bring help to a precise location. I really like that aspect of it," said Michael Bolles of R.E.A.C.T Defense Systems.

Bolles is a self-defense instructor at their Glendale location. He told 3TV this app can be very helpful but at the same time, keeping your eyes glued to it or anything else on your phone can make you an easy target.

"We don't want our students or the public in general to be so focused on a device or exclude their hearing with earbuds to the extent that the criminal has the upper hand," Bolles said.

Another concern is that apps like these could lead to a false sense of security for some.

Bolles says a good way to avoid falling into that trap is to take a self-defense class and get some training.

In addition, he said it's important for people to remember that they, not smartphone apps, are responsible for their safety.

"We definitely would think the first line of defense is don't allow yourself to become a victim in the first place, so awareness is key," Bolles said.

Many students we spoke to agree say that relying on the app alone is not enough.

"Thinking that, you know, a phone will protect you at all times is kind of an iffy thing to always have, but it's nice to know that the option is available," said ASU student Sydney Abetya.

In its press release ASU said this app was never meant to replace calling 911 or filing police reports; it's simply an extra tool for students.

The app is free.