TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of South Florida Police Department created a new way to reach students if there is an emergency.
Students start fall semester on August 26. USF Police encourages students to download a free app called USF SAFE.
Students can view emergency contacts, gain access to a mobile blue light, report a tip or view maps and bus routes.
Students can also receive notifications about violent crime on campus or around it.
"We notify our community if anything is going on of a concern and we give them direction. We tell them to seek cover or to shelter in place or avoid an area," said Captain Meg Ross with USF Police.
The app also allows students to report a tip.
"This is not to report a crime in progress. It is to report a tip for something that has already occurred and you want to provide us with more information," said Captain Ross.
Students can also notify friends if they are walking alone by using "Friend Walk" on the app.
Your friend will receive a message with a link. They will see a map with your location and you'll be able to connect with them. If you're in a panic, hit the button to notify your friend and start an emergency call.
Students can also use a "Mobile BlueLight." It is similar to the blue light stations around campus. The function will enable your device's location services to send your location to USFPD. It will then initiate a phone call to dispatch.
Police encourage students to always dial 911 in an emergency if possible instead of using the app features.
"These options will call us, but they take a few more key strokes to do it. 911 is the universal emergency number for any emergency and we want to stress that," said Captain Ross.
Parents or other community members can also download the app.
"This app allows parents to sign up and receive the same notifications that their children will receive," said Captain Ross.
"Anyone can sign up for it and that is a huge plus to our previous system," added Captain Ross.