The Texas Department of Public Safety created a mobile app that allows users to track sex offenders based off location-based information.
The app provides a database of the state’s sex offender registry and the Texas top 10 most-wanted lists.
The app is free for download on any iPhone, iPad or Android devices.
Mykee Flores, a freshman biology major from Lubbock, said that the app would be a useful resource for students on campus in regards to safety.
“If I felt that I was endangered, I think this app would be helpful. If it is night and you are all by yourself, it could be useful to decide which places to avoid,” said Flores. “It would help keep you aware of your surroundings.”
The total number of Texas sexual assault incidents in 2012 was 17,835. This was a 1.39% decrease in comparison to 2011, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Reports.
Ashley Roest, a freshman biology major from Emory, said that sexual abuse is a problem that goes unnoticed.
“I don’t think it is very known. Sexual abuse is a subject that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about,” she said. “Abuse seems to be a subject that goes under the radar of most people.”
The mobile app would serve as an intelligent resource on or off campus, Roest said.
The app is a useful resource for safety precautions, and brings awareness to the potential offenders within the location. However, the app is not for everyone, Roest said.
“I probably wouldn’t download the app. It is a great idea, but I just personally don’t know if I would feel comfortable,” she said, “I think it would scare me more than do me any good.”
It would be a helpful to resource to have as a school administrator when taking students on field trips or to any off-campus activities, said Roest.
Every 21 hours there is a rape on an American college campus, according to the 2005 National Crime Victimization Study by the United States Department of Justice.
According to a 2003 report from the Department of Justice, college women are most vulnerable to rape during the first weeks of their freshman and sophomore years.
“When you are new to college you really don’t know much about the campus or the city,” said Roest. “The app could help keep you safe in unfamiliar places.”
The app is organized into five categories -Featured News, Sex Offender Registry, Human Trafficking, and iWatch Texas.
The Featured News section provides easy access to any breaking news offered by the DPS. The Fugitives program alerts about the most wanted sex offenders in Texas. Sex Offender Registry allows you to locate offenders according to your location, and the Human Trafficking program provides recent reports of nearby cases.
In addition, the app allows users to report suspicious behavior or submit tips for wanted suspects, according to the DPS.
“The app is a dynamic and interactive link between the public and our department,“ said Department of Public Safety director, Steven McCraw. “Today’s digital age makes it imperative that Texans have easy and immediate access to an array of DPS programs, services, and resources — and this app puts that power at their fingertips.”