Like many colleges across the US, campus safety is a top priority for Creighton University.
Located in Omaha, NE, Creighton University had over 30 blue light emergency phones placed throughout the campus, specifically to provide an emergency resource for campus safety. However, these phones hadn’t been used for a legitimate emergency call in over a decade.
This technology was dated and costly to maintain. It also provided no assistance for when students travel off-campus.
The cold winters in Nebraska make operating a touchscreen-based panic button difficult with gloves.
Creighton’s Senior Director of Public Safety, Michael D. Reiner, recognized this and sought to enhance the sense of safety on campus by making it easier for community members to reach help and improve the sense of security on campus.
Reiner was uninterested in app-only solutions for numerous reasons. He felt that an expensive smartphone could distract students from ambient dangers as well as attract unwanted attention. In addition, the cold winters in Nebraska make operating a touchscreen-based panic button difficult with gloves. The phone would also have to be unlocked, and at the ready in the student’s hand, for an app-based alert to be initiated quickly.
Instead, Reiner chose the POM, which he felt was easier to operate and had features that dovetailed well with a higher education environment. After a series of tests that included 37 alerts (three of which were sent from basement settings with poor signal), all of which returned a location accuracy of 13 feet or less, Reiner, along with leaders from Student Life, Public Safety, Student Government, and Admissions made an enthusiastic and unanimous decision to implement POM on campus.
Subsequent user surveys show that 84% of Creighton’s students carry the POM regularly and 72% report feeling safer carrying the POM.
As of spring 2019, over 2,250 POMs have been distributed at Creighton, primarily to undergraduate residential students. Creighton Public Safety has already received a total of 700 alerts and resolved two critical situations, an assault/attempted murder and a medical emergency. Subsequent user surveys show that 84% of Creighton’s students carry the POM regularly and 72% report feeling safer carrying the POM. Creighton University considers POM a great success, allowing users to quickly request emergency assistance and providing them with an increased level of security.