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August 08, 2023

New Temple University safety app allows students to contact police with one tap

The North Philly university has been scrutinized for its response to violent crime in recent years. TUSafe, which debuts next week, is its latest effort to improve safety

Education Temple University
Temple Safety App Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Temple University is rolling out a new safety app that allows users to request walking escorts or hit a one-touch panic button during emergencies, among other features.

Temple University is rolling out a new safety app that allows students to more easily contact police, report crimes and request escorts to walk them home. 

TUSafe, which launches Aug. 14, will replace RAVE Temple Guardian, the safety app that Temple has used since February 2022. The new app includes several enhanced features, many recommended by students, including a one-touch panic button that alerts police to an emergency, a chat function that allows students to contact Temple police and access to real-time schedules for Flight, the shuttle service that transports students around campus and the blocks surrounding it.

The app is a customized version of AppArmor, a safety app used by Princeton University, Boston College, New York University and Virginia Tech. Officials from schools that use customized versions of AppArmor told Temple's emergency management team that they have had success since launching their apps. 

Temple's app can be downloaded on the iPhone App Store and Google Play.

"We are happy to enhance safety resources for our Temple community with the TUSafe app, and we encourage everyone to download it and become familiar with its capabilities," said Jennifer Griffin, Temple's vice president for public safety. "This app has the ability to keep Temple students, faculty and staff connected to public safety and resources, but for that to happen, our community members need to take the first step in adding the app to their mobile devices." 

The rollout comes as the fall semester nears and as Temple seeks ways to improve safety on and around its campus. The university fell under scrutiny in recent years as violent crime ticked up across the city and several cases near Temple received widespread media attention.

On Sunday, a female student was the victim of a carjacking that took place near her off-campus apartment on the 1500 block of Fontain Street. Philadelphia police are searching for three men, but no arrests have been made. 

The woman was walking to her car shortly after midnight when she was grabbed by her neck and pinned against her vehicle, police said. She slipped away, but the men stole her car, which was recovered in Kensington. Another car stolen during a carjacking Saturday in North Philly was found on the same block. 

There have been 283 car thefts and 37 armed robberies within a quarter mile of Temple's main campus so far this year, 6ABC reported. There have been 446 reported robberies in the 22nd Police District, where Temple is located. 

Earlier this year, Temple police officer Christopher Fitzgerald was shot and killed while pursuing suspects allegedly involved in a carjacking. Miles Pfeffer, an 18-year-old from Bucks County, has been charged with murder. 

Former Temple President Jason Wingard, who resigned in March, had committed to enhancing the university's safety infrastructure, including increasing its campus safety force by 50% and partnering more closely with police to patrol nearby off-campus areas. 

Those measures had been prompted by the shooting death of 21-year-old Samuel Collington, a senior political science major who was targeted in a carjacking near campus in November 2021. In January 2022, Hyram Hill, the 23-year-old son of a Philly police officer, was fatally shot just south of Temple's medical campus. 

Earlier this year, Temple released the findings of an independent audit into its public safety policies. The audit, led by former Philly police commissioner Charles Ramsey, included 68 recommendations for improving safety, including the creation of a public safety plan that includes the surrounding North Philly community.