The Advance-Titan

ROBOCOPP offers safe alternative

Hailey Lawrence

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A new alternative to campus safety has been introduced in the form of a sound grenade, or more formally known as ROBOCOPP.

ROBOCOPP is the brain-child of CEO Sam Mansen who came up with the idea after wanting to find an alternative to pepper spray to make his younger sister feel safe on her college campus. Mansen said, through research, he found that while pepper spray is effective, it is not carried around as often as people think.

“He and his sister didn’t want to use pepper spray for a few reasons,” Jill Turner, a representative from ROBOCOPP said. “[First,] it requires you to confront an attacker, which a lot of people don’t want to do. [Second,] it can be used against you.”

According to Turner, ROBOCOPP is a strong device which gives users a sense of power because it is proven to be a criminal deterrent that can’t be used against the device’s owner. Mansen’s research has shown that 68 percent of criminals will flee a scene if an alarm is heard.

The college atmosphere is a big part of why the sound grenade is popular on campuses including UW Oshkosh, Turner said.

“Students have been purchasing the device entirely on their own, either from our website or on Amazon,” Turner said. “The effect of the alarm really does another crucial thing, which alerts others that you are in trouble. People are more likely to react if they hear something out of the ordinary.”

According to Turner, the device can be heard from up to 300 feet away, so it has a lot more uses in many different situations that aren’t just on campus.

“A lot of muggings happen just off campus borders, so it’s a great tool for students who commute back and forth,” Turner said. “It’s also a great tool for camping and hiking. The device is actually a proven wild animal repellent; there’s a great video on YouTube of someone scaring away a bear with the alarm.”

The device itself has gained a lot of attention through the “TODAY Show,” “NBC News,” and other news outlets, Turner said.

Along with that, ROBOCOPP has had great reviews and has a section of their website for people to tell their stories of how ROBOCOPP has helped them, Turner said.

“We also regularly get emails from students and parents sharing their experiences,” Turner said. “We recently got an email from a UC Berkeley student. She emailed us around 11 p.m., ecstatic, because she had just deterred two attackers near a train station as she was walking to her car.”

When asked about the effectiveness of ROBOCOPP, Community Service Officer Bryan Carter said there might need to be more done than just scare off an attacker.

“In a dangerous situation you need to be able to do more than scare an attacker,” Carter said. “You need to be able to stun them so you can get away while authorities arrive.”

Carter said although pepper spray can be used against the victim, it is still more effective than the sound grenade.

“Portable pepper spray gives more security and temporarily takes out even the best of us,” Carter said. “Is it unpredictable? Yes but it’s the best alternative.”

Though ROBBOCOPP is still a new concept to campus, Carter said time will tell the effectiveness of the product.

Sophomore Emily Brooke said this device will benefit students.

“I think it will definitely improve campus safety,” Brooke said. “It’s easy to carry around with you and there’s no way you can miss a loud alarm going off.”

As an alternative to pepper spray, Brooke agreed with Carter that ROBOCOPP wouldn’t be the quickest option in self-defense, saying the alarm will draw people to you but it may take some time for you to get actual help.

“I think pepper spray is better in the immediate situation for protection because you can inhibit your perpetrator in the moment,” Brooke said.

Brooke said she believes this will be a strong asset to campus security with the other resources given to students on campus.

“I think it will be a fantastic asset for students,” Brooke said. “It’s like a blue light pole for your pocket. It will definitely help students be and feel more safe.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
ROBOCOPP offers safe alternative