New ‘BlueLight’ security app aims to make BYU campus safer

A shady figure walks around campus at night. BYU students are advised to not walk alone at night to avoid potential threats. (David Scott)

One of the biggest developments is BlueLight.

Colleges across the country are encouraging students to use “BlueLight,” an app that aims to improve the safety of students with the simple touch of a button.

BlueLight is a smartphone application used for tracking student routes and allowing easy contact with police and emergency contacts.

Cecilia Marshall, a marketing intern with BlueLight, explained what sets BlueLight apart from other security apps.

“BlueLight is the safety toolkit for the digital age. We put safety into your hands through a variety of ways.” Marshall said. “We offer two primary features: On My Way, for everyday location sharing and Request Help, for calling emergency services. You can personalize the app by adding in your emergency contacts and BlueLight Places for ensuring reliable 911 response in up to 20 custom locations. Our Request Help feature also improves upon the location problems facing emergency calls from mobile phones today.”

BlueLight started a few years ago and has seen a lot of success to bring in users by working with schools.

“We have built a beautiful product and experience that our users love, which is one of the reasons why users continue to spread the word about BlueLight,” Marshall said.

Marshall explained the biggest selling point to get colleges to use BlueLight.

“The campus team and administrations want students to feel safe on campus and give them the quickest access to help. BlueLight is a modern way to get more information to a dispatcher. Also, it makes campuses look innovative that they recognize how important smartphones are to students,” Marshall said.

BYU student walks on campus alone at night. Many students are subject to danger while walking alone at night, especially young women. (Ari Davis)

Thousands of crimes are reported on college campuses every year. BYU University Police are not currently using BlueLight, but say they are open to improving the safety of students using new advancements in technology.

Arnold Lemmon, Lieutenant Police Officer at BYU, shared his thoughts on the new app, BlueLight.

“GPS won’t tell us what floor or what room. It could give a false sense of security,” Lemmon said. “If it is a very heavy crime going on, there is nothing like voice contact.”

Lt. Lemmon has been an officer at BYU for 37 years and has seen how new technological advances have helped the police force.

“Communication is huge for us,” Lemmon said. “We need to know what the situation is and where it is happening and where the suspect is.”

Some students feel that there is not a lot of crime that happens on campus. John Fluhman, a freshman at BYU, said he never heard about the crimes on campus.

“I’ve never personally encountered issues where I needed to talk to the police,” Fluhman said.

The police force does everything possible to prevent crimes by using any information possible.

“Information is power,” Lemmon said. “It’s that voice we need for helping students.”

University police have looked into using BlueLight, but have not made any agreements with BlueLight to use the app. BYU already has a system in place that has helped police officers and students.

The current BYU system, Y-alert, provides students with an opportunities to report crimes. Currently there are 23,000 students and employees that have registered with Y-alert according to Lemmon.

“We’d like every student to sign up for Y-alert,” Lemmon said. “We’d like every student to know about any crimes.”

He also explained that most crimes on campus are usually theft and he said it is very rare for reported crimes of assault.

“Most crimes that occur on campus are committed by non-students,” Lemmon said.

BYU police provide crime reports on to give students a better idea of where crimes have occurred.

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