By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Can a smartphone make you safer? Villanova University thinks so, and is empowering students and staff with a free app that puts help one tap away.

The app is called Nova Safe.

“The core functionality is the ability to press a button and be connected with Public Safety,” says Dave Tedjeske, director of Public Safety at Villanova.

He says it gives the emergency dispatcher a real-time GPS location of the user and other information they’ve they chosen to provide when they signed up for the app: photos, medical conditions, emergency contacts.

It also has a feature called Friend Watch.

“They can use their emergency contacts to watch over them, so to speak,” Tedjeske says, “so if I’m going to the city and I want my friends to be able to keep an eye on me, it sends the friend watcher a link to see where you actually are at that point.”

Nova Safe also shows a crime map of on-campus incidents.

They plan to push this heavily come orientation time in the fall, but Tejdeske says they’ve already had more than 600 downloads.