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With Mobile App, UMd Seeks to Make College Park Safe

Agrawala demos M-Urgency

University of Maryland has been pitching an iPhone application tool, called M-Urgency, to make the city residents safer.

UMd’s Police Chief David Mitchel and computer science professor Ashok Agrawala presented the tool to City Council in last week’s council session. Prof. Agrawala also serves as the project manager of M-Urgency initiative.

Starting in September, students at the University of Maryland will be able to download the application and use it as a “virtual escort” if they feel unsafe at night. As the camera rolls, any emergency situation that unfolds is recorded live for police dispatchers to watch in real time – useful for anyone who needs to alert authorities to a crime while staying discreet.

At the briefing in the council session, Mitchell and Agrawala said they would like to expand the program to the entire city. They said the program would cost the city residents $100,000.

According to this Diamondback piece, council member Perry and Stullich have expressed reservations about the project, fearing that the app might be abused by the students / residents.

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