Safety at Your Fingertips

A review of safety apps available to UA students


Navigating a new place may feel scary at first, but The University of Alabama has several apps that make it easier for students to discover Tuscaloosa and the UA campus safely. . Read on to find a comprehensive review of a few of the cell phone applications available for use that may help one feel safer. 


UA Safety App

The University of Alabama provides students with its own safety app that has a variety of helpful features. When you open the app, the home page displays the weather forecast, emergency contacts, access to the UA Info Radio livestream, and any active UA or Weather alerts. The app also includes a helpful ‘explore’ tab which shows the user’s current location in relation to helpful safety locations, including storm shelters, refuge areas, AEDs, Blue Phones and all other buildings on campus. Notifications from the app can be set up to be received and, in the case of tornado warnings, a live map will be shown of the polygon. This app is user-friendly and includes many helpful features. However, it’s limited to campus and does not address safety issues in the greater Tuscaloosa area. 


“Neighbors” by Ring, and the Ring Video Doorbell App

These apps alert users to events occurring in their “neighborhood”. If you own a Ring camera, then you will already have this feature, but if you don’t, you can download the Neighbors app without purchasing a Ring security device. The app allows neighbors to communicate with one another about important safety issues, as well as sending out alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also allows neighbors to anonymously comment on existing threats to add any helpful information or to ask questions. The apps alert users in a timely manner and is great to gain a better understanding of what is going on in the greater Tuscaloosa area. 



The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has an app that allows users to submit tips, call the main office or emergency services, and see recent arrests and a Most Wanted list. It also contains a map on the explore page that allows users to view where the Sheriff’s offices are located, tornado shelters, nearby sex offenders, recent crime reports and access to a directory which includes the names and phone numbers of everyone within the Sheriff’s office. This app is helpful to stay up to date on recent crime within the area, though there are few ‘in the moment’ safety features, like alerts. 


Life 360

Although this may be an app that your parents forced you to download as a rebellious teenager, it can be a helpful tool to locate friends after a night out. The app allows users to see the locations of people that they’ve shared their location with, check in with those users , and even send an SOS in case of emergency. Messages can also be sent between users. This app is possibly one of the most important ones on the list, as knowing the location of your friends can save a life. It is important to stick together on nights out, but if that’s impossible, the next best thing is having their location available to you.