BSO expands SaferWatch app to include hundreds of houses of worship

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward Sheriff’s Office has announced houses of worship are now included in the SaferWatch app used to provide an extra level of security to community members.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony spoke at the Broward County Public Safety building near Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning.

The SaferWatch app has already been implemented at schools throughout the county, and officials said they have seen a lot of success from it. This led to the expansion of its use in places of worship.

Tony said the app has been crucial in preventing suicides and crimes at Broward County schools, and now 850 houses of worship will also use it.

“What else can we do? How can we expand this particular application, where we’re having success in schools, into our houses of worship?” said Tony. “We got pretty creative and started looking at some different things, and now we’re instituting the SaferWatch across 850 different houses of worship across Broward County.”

Any user can report suspicious activity anonymously through the app on their smartphones.

Videos, pictures and audio files can be uploaded to also report potential threats, which are received by BSO in real time.

“This is a method where we’re going to be able to provide another sense of security within our community [and] involve in more access in terms of communication with our law enforcement,” said Tony.

Users can opt-in to receive alerts from public locations they frequent.

“We have a big threat around the country in terms of our religious houses of worship,” said Muslim-American Alem Udin. “I think it’s essential for us to have the security getting implemented.”

Authorities are looking to soon expand the app to include airports.