contact: Michael Newbern
Frustrated with the lack of campus area crime information Ohio State disseminates to students, faculty, and staff, one computer science student fills the gap with a custom software solution.
“I was having a conversation about how it sucks that safety notices are sent out when crimes happen involving OSU students, so I wrote a program to do just that, automatically, every day,” Said Cailin Pitt, senior Ohio State computer science and engineering student.
The program scrapes information on campus area crimes from the publicly accessible web portals of the Columbus and Ohio State police departments daily to generate a digest it then sends out in a free daily email to subscribers.
“We think it’s a great idea,” said Katherine Alban, senior in animal science and campus leader of Students for Concealed Carry’s Ohio State Chapter, Buckeyes for Concealed Carry. “College campuses are surrounded by areas where criminals prey on students and this tool helps to show that. It’s a wakeup call for a lot of people. Crime is usually a lot worse right down the road from where people sleep than they may realize.”
Ohio State sends out alerts, known as Buckeye Alerts, but only when a crime has been assessed to be a continuing threat to the campus area community. CPD’s and OSUPD’s web portals are also both openly accessible, however the information is disjointed and sometimes difficult to find. As a result, not everyone is aware of crimes happening around them.
“The reality is that we live in a dangerous world and we want to be aware of what is happening around us,” claims Pitt on a website promoting the tool called Aware OSU.
People interested in signing up for Aware OSU’s daily digest can do so at http://cailinpitt.github.io/AwareOSU/.