Are Watchdog alerts effective?

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Concerns have surfaced that Watchdog alerts may not be as effectively reporting potential threats to the campus community as they should. The Watchdog system, according to the UIndy website, is a communication service used to reach the campus community quickly with urgent notifications to people’s phones or emails. According to the website, “whenever there is a health or safety threat to the campus,” the system should send out, “rapid and widespread notification.” However, complaints have been posted on the UIndy app that a number of crime-related incidents in the campus area, that potentially could have posed a threat to students, have not triggered Watchdog alerts. 

Although I agree with what some students have posted, not every crime in the area surrounding the campus can be reported immediately. Some notification eventually should be sent out about the situation, though, to ensure that students do not feel the university has neglected to tell them.

Some incidents this semester have not triggered a Watchdog alert. Last year, on multiple occasions, Watchdog alerts were sent out right away after incidents happened. This semester, the alerts seemed to slowly dwindle, or they did not clarify what happened. Students need to be aware of what is happening. They are paying to go to school here and need to feel safe on campus. 

One way to improve Watchdog would be to ensure that crime-related incidents around Carson Heights and University Heights trigger alerts. That would ensure notifications about the areas around both the north and south sides of the campus. While I do not feel Watchdog is a failure, I do think it can improve in making the students at the university feel safer.  

Students can sign up to receive Watchdog alerts on the Watchdog website, under Register My Account. Students also can register their parents, guardians or spouses, if they have agreed to receive the alerts.

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