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ROBOCOPP Aims to Increase Campus Safety

Concerns for safety are rising on college campuses across the country, with increasing events of sexual assault and violence hitting headlines. The most updated statistics released from the U.S. Department of Education in 2014 detail 40,870 criminal offenses that had been reported in 2014.

This past October, UMKC released the 2016 Campus Fire and Safety Report outlining the existence of crime much closer to home than the statistics released from the U.S. Department of Education. While crime is far from abundant on either the Volker or Health Science campus, 63 crimes took place on the Volker campus and 23 on the Health Science campus in 2015.

Of the crimes that took place on both campuses, four were cases of rape, three cases of fondling, six cases of robbery, six cases of aggravated assault, 29 cases of burglary, five cases of motor vehicle theft, 10 cases of domestic violence, 19 cases of dating violence, and four cases of stalking.

The unfortunate increase of campus violence has opened a window for the marketing of safety products designed to deter acts of violence and crime from occurring and to aid victims in staying safe.

In 2007, Sam Mansen had a sister in college he wanted to protect from dangerous situations. Mansen, now the CEO of ROBOCOPP,  created a device now known as the Sound Grenade. The Sound grenade is a USB-sized device that lets out a 120 dB siren when the pin is pulled from the top of it.

“We did a lot of academic research into crime deterrence, and we found that a loud alarm was one of the best possible deterrents,” said ROBOCOPP Public Relations Director Jill Turner. Turner has been involved with the company since its inception.

ROBOCOPP device: ROBOCOPP’s newest product the ROBORanger is expected to release in summer of 2017.
ROBOCOPP device: ROBOCOPP’s newest product the ROBORanger is expected to release in
summer of 2017.

The Sound Grenade, which was released over two year ago, has been a huge success for ROBOCOPP. The company received feedback from consumers who have successfully used their product. A few months ago, one woman contacted ROBOCOPP after her Sound Grenade device stopped two men in their tracks after they approached her claiming to be armed and demanding her to hand over her money. She pulled the pin to sound the alarm from her device and her two attackers immediately ran away.

While the Sound Grenade has been a success, ROBOCOPP has been in the process of creating a new and improved device to more effectively help people in dangerous situations.

“The number one piece of feedback we have received from customers of the Sound Grenade, which are typically college students and parents, is people asking if the Sound Grenade calls 911 or has any kind of emergency response and we have to tell them no,” said Turner. “It was the natural progression of things, so we started with the Sound Grenade because of the alarm and deterrent and the next step was something that could include a response.”

ROBOCOPP’s newest device is the ROBORanger which has the USB-sized design of the Sound Grenade and is also activated by pulling the pin out of the top of it but releases a louder 130 dB siren. Unique to the ROBORanger, when activated the device sends a signal to an alarm service who will immediately dispatch 911 to your location and can be set up to send a text message to your emergency contacts. Unlike the Sound Grenade, the ROBORanger can be recharged and will release more than 30 minutes of an alarm sound.

Unlike most devices which require a connection to an app, phone or activation, the ROBORanger has a cell phone connection built into it and ready to go straight from the box.

“This is a device you could pull of the shelf and hand to your grandmother and all you have to do is tell her if you’re in trouble, pull the pin,” said Mansen. “It’s really incredible; I don’t think it has ever been done before, with 100 percent functionality right off the shelf. If you pull that pin, someone will come looking for you.”

ROBORanger is currently available for pre-sale and is expected to be released in July of 2017. Once the device is released, it will be priced at $149. It is available for a limited number of people on pre-sale for prices ranging from $79-$115 on Kickstarter and for $99.99 on ROBOCOPP’s website.

With the first initial purchase, buyers will receive one year of the alarm service. After this, the alarm service will have to be renewed annually for $49. If the alarm service is not renewed the device will no longer dispatch 911 but will release the 130 dB siren.

“For $149, $99 if you buy it on Kickstarter, we are offering you a device that might save your life,” said Mansen. “I would be willing to pay that if it means the difference between life and death.”

The ROBORanger is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/607962626/the-worlds-first-connected-personal-safety-alarm and on ROBOCOPP’s website www.ROBOCOPP.com.

epark@unews.com

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