OSU student creates computer program to track crimes in and around campus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – An Ohio State University computer science student is helping coeds stay safe and informed on and off campus.

Cailin Pitt created AwareOSU in October. It’s a computer algorithm and finds crime reports from two police departments that serve the campus area.

“It basically visits the Columbus Police web portal and gets the crimes that happened yesterday,” he said. “And then it visits OSU Police’s website and saves that. And then it sends out an email to users.”

It took Pitt, a resident adviser, about two hours to come up with 174 lines of code that make the program work. He said the idea came to him during a conversation with a fellow RA after a student was attacked off campus.

“I run this program on a small $35 computer. So it does it automatically for me,” Pitt said.

Right now, OSU students get crime alerts from OSU Police. The department also publishes a daily crime report on its website. But Columbus Police do not alert students to crimes happening off campus in their jurisdiction. Cailin’s program provides students with crime reports over a 24-hour period, taking the guesswork out of what’s happening around them.

Within 17 hours of posting his program to his Facebook page, Pittsaid he had 100 followers. A month later, 600 students have signed up.

“Everyone was like, ‘this was a great idea. This should’ve been done a while ago.’ I was really surprised. I didn’t think it would be this popular,” he said.

As simple as the program is, Pitt is looking to make some changes. Some students have requested a few upgrades, like adding a map of where the crimes are committed.

Pitt said he couldn’t have written the program with the knowledge he is gaining in his web application course.

“I even told my professor ‘thank you, because I wouldn’t have been able to do this project without you.’ I’m really happy that I picked Ohio State.”

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