College Park professor designs panic app for campus

Right now, anyone on the College Park campus of the University of Maryland with an iPhone or Android smartphone can take advantage of a new app designed to modernize the call for help.

The moment you touch the call button, the app begins to record video, audio and notifies a dispatcher inside the campus police station.

Up and running since February, officials say the app, cleverly named M-Urgency, is a great tool for improving public safety and self awareness.

"I think it's great," said University of Maryland, College Park student Eric Rosenberg. "There is the blue lights all over campus that let you call into the police from central locations all over campus, but this is great for when you are not near one of those. ...You just have it in your pocket all of the time."

In addition to notifying authorities of trouble, uses can also utilize the app to let their friends and family know they are safe if an emergency should occur.

School officials say the app has an opportunity to really make an impact on campus.

"Effectively, anybody with a smartphone who has this app running on their smartphone becomes the eyes and ears for the police or law enforcement officials," said computer science professor and app developer Ashok Agrawala. "It's a significant change or shift in the paradigm."

The app is available for Android 2.2 or higher. Users of the iPhone 4 and 4S can also use it.

There is work being done to get the App to work with iOS 6.