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Nova Safe

Nova Safe is a free smartphone app designed to help the Villanova University Department of Public Safety respond to emergency situations quickly and with more information available to them than ever before. 

Your safety is important and we hope that you use Nova Safe as a supplement to the other things you do every day to stay safe here a Villanova such as locking your door and keeping personal belongings secure. Please keep in mind though that Nova Safe is limited by the technology that supports it, such as cell phone functionality, internet availability, cellular coverage, and GPS positioning technology.  At times when these services are unavailable, Nova Safe may not work as you expect it to, and when dealing with an issue as important as safety, you should not be completely reliant on any one system or product.

Nova Safe does not replace Nova Alert.

Nova Alert is a mass notification system.  Nova Safe is an interactive communications system with the Department of Public Safety.

Nova Safe App Logo

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Native apps are available for iOS and Android smartphones. Any device, including tablets and desktops, can access the app store listings.


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Getting Started

After downloading the app, you can create a profile with as much personal information as desired — including, photos, contact information, local address, medical conditions, emergency contacts and more. Most of the information is optional and will be viewable to the Public Safety Dispatcher in the event you contact the Department via the app. The app is available to all students, faculty, and staff.

An important feature is that your GPS location can be seen by the Public Safety dispatcher when you contact the Department via the app. We can’t do this without your permission though. When prompted, you will need to “Enable Location Services” if you want us to be able to see where you are when you contact us. The only time the dispatcher can see your location is when you contact us via the app.

How It Works

Nova Safe has seven main functions. All of these functions can be used anywhere you have cellular coverage, both on and off campus:

If an emergency call is made from the app, an alert is sent to the Public Safety dispatcher that you may need help. Included in this alert is your profile information with a map of your current location. At the same time your phone calls Public Safety and you are connected with emergency response.

Prior to receiving the emergency call, the Public Safety dispatcher will already know who you are and where you are.  Additionally, if you are in a situation (medical or safety) and you cannot speak, you location will already be known and emergency response will be sent to your location. You may also use the “Text Public Safety” function as an alternative to calling. Public Safety monitors for incoming emergency text messages 24/7.

If you call 911 from the app, the extra information contained in your profile does not migrate to the 911 center. The 911 operator will therefore only have the information that is normally available to them if you called 911 from your phone without using the app. 

The crime map is an easy way to stay informed about crime on campus. All serious crimes will be posted to the crime map. These include criminal homicide, rape and other sex offenses, aggravated assault, simple assault, hate crimes, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, burglary, theft (including motor vehicle theft), and arson.  The crime map does not display every crime known to Public Safety, particularly liquor law offenses, drug offenses, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Information about these crimes can be found in the Daily Crime and Fire Log, which can be reviewed upon request at the Public Safety Office in Farrell Hall.

Friend Watch lets your emergency contacts know if you are out and about and may need watching over. Simply set the Friend Watch timer and describe your activity. Your Friend Watch contacts will then be sent a text message with this information. For example, a user might set a friend watch while walking from one building to another at night, walking from their office to a vehicle, going for a jog or any other activities where you just want additional safety. The friend “watcher” does not have to download the app in order for this function to work.
Friend Watch 2

Once set, the Friend Watch timer will run until you turn it off or it expires. If the pre-determined time expires, Nova Safe sends a text message to the emergency contacts in your profile alerting them you may need assistance. Included in the text message is a description of your activity along with a link to a map showing your most recent location.

Friend Watch can be used anywhere you have cell coverage. You do not have to be on campus to use this function. The only time your emergency contacts can see your location is when you are using Friend Watch. Contacts are not able to track your location unless you are actively using this feature.

This function is accessed through the Friend Watch tab.  It can be used to send a one-time text message to your emergency contacts letting them know where you are. Also included in the message is a link to your most recent location.

Similar to Friend Watch, this function can be used anywhere you have cellular coverage, not just on campus.

The “Submit a Tip” function is activated through the “Services and Tips” button to quickly send photos and videos—anonymously, if desired—directly to Public Safety. These might include crime tips, suspicious activity, icy sidewalks, or maintenance issues.

Do not use “Submit a Tip” for emergency situations and never put yourself in jeopardy to capture a picture or video to submit a report. Instead, use the Emergency Calling feature for dangerous or emergency situations.

During a campus emergency, you may have questions about what to do to stay safe.  This feature, which is also accessed through the “Services and Tips” button, allows you to quickly access directions for various types of emergencies which may occur on a college campus.  Simply select the type of emergency and directions for that emergency will be displayed on your screen.

Villanova runs several shuttles that travel both on and off campus. This feature of the app has two parts – a schedule view and a live view. To find the next shuttle, simply click on the bus route, then click on your pickup location. The app will display the next four times that the bus will be at your location. You can also click on a link that will display the current GPS location of the shuttle.

For more information on Nova Safe, please call the Department of Public Safety at 610-519-5800 or email David Tedjeske .

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