As the academic year gets into full swing, campuses around South Africa are urging students to be extra vigilant when it comes to personal safety. File picture: Leon Lestrade/ANA

Namola works on the same premise as Uber by allowing users to share their GPS co-ordinates, writes Marchelle Abrahams.

Imagine having access to a 24-hour response centre at the touch of a button. According to Warwick Scott-Rodger, the executive head of Dialdirect Insurance, this is exactly what you get, plus a whole bunch of other safety features, with the Namola app.

As the academic year gets into full swing, campuses around South Africa are urging students to be extra vigilant when it comes to personal safety.

And this is why Dialdirect and anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee have teamed up to make the safety app available to students.

“It was introduced to give victims of crime access to a new, innovative way of contacting the police,” said Scott-Rodger.

He added that the app improved efficiency and alleviated pressure on 10111 centres by pre-screening alerts.

Namola works on the same premise as Uber by allowing users to share their GPS co-ordinates, name and nature of the emergency with a 24/7 response call centre.

For genuine alerts, police and other emergency response teams are then dispatched and monitored.

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“Campus crime is definitely a problem, especially robberies,” said Peter Matthaei, the chief executive of Namola. Students are often targeted for their cellphones and cash. Most crimes happen at night when students walk from campus to their residences.”

But then, surely it should be the tertiary institution’s job to ensure students are safe?

“All tertiary institutions have campus security. Namola does not take the place of campus security, but instead makes it easier to report incidents and request assistance from existing structures,” said Matthaei. Namola was working with campus security in several tertiary institutions, he added.

When pressing the #GetHelpFast button, Namola messages go straight to the campus security control room so they know who needs assistance and where they are.

If you are a victim of crime, Matthaei advises you report it to campus security.

* Users wanting to turn their phone into a panic button can search for Namola in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or visit Namola.com and download it for free.