I read this NY Daily News article today and I just have to share it with our Give-A-Hoot readers. The article describes five different apps that are available on both Apple and Android devices that work to keep the user safe while walking in public. These are apps that are used when you’re trekking to and from your apartment, home, vehicle, workplace, or absolutely anywhere. They each offer different check-in prompts along your journey and require your timely response. Some can track changes in movement– for example, if you begin to run.
I have yet to meet a woman who has not once in their lifetime been followed. I know so many who have been walking to work or school and dialed “911” on their phone and let their thumb hover over the call button while their pace quickened just in case. There have been times I’ve had to ask someone who seems frazzled, “Do you know that person?” and the answer is “No.” I’ve had women and even a young girl, each come into our store and state that they were being followed by an unknown person. You may be nodding your head in agreement already, but if not, ask some of those close to you if they have these stories. I have a strong feeling the answer will be yes.
In the East Bay, we’ve had numerous attempted kidnappings of young folks walking home from school. Notably, a young man who was following girls home in the San Jose areas. We saw on national news, the tragic incident where a young boy walking home was fatally stabbed by an unknown male.
There are countless users that can benefit from reading the article and downloading one of these apps. Below, I’ve identified just three groups that I see have a huge need for something like this.
- As a Campus Safety Resource: There were many times during my undergraduate career that my vehicle was one of the last ones on campus. I would spend hours in the classroom, at meetings and in the library… only to step outside and realize how much further the journey to my vehicle seemed when the campus was dark and empty. If I had known about these apps, I would have felt much safer. Most campuses, at least in California, have blue light poles that students can use to phone campus police and request an escort– but in my experience, this can be an awkward call to make.
- Elementary, Middle & High School Students: Do you have a young student in your family who walks to/from school? It might be a good idea to discuss the apps as a safety solution. At the least, come up with a plan of action– does your loved one know what to do if they feel unsafe? Are there landmarks along the journey that may provide a safe-haven if needed? Be sure to point them out.
- Pedestrian Commuters of All Ages: If you or someone you know is frequently on foot, this is a perfect supplemental resource for them. Especially if they are walking at night or in less-populated areas.
While it is startling that we live in a world where technology like this is needed, I am pleased to know that these resources exist. I still recommend exploring other safety resources, including but not limited to: personal safety alarms, pepper spray (18 & Up), tasers. At the price point of FREE, it is comforting to know that these apps provide easily accessible support.
Please, read and share these resources with those in your life who may benefit.
Published on: Jun 17th, 2016
© Katelyn Radtke, Give-A-Hoot
**Give-A-Hoot Content is for information-purposes only and is not a substitute for specific security consultations. It is always best to consult with a professional specifically for your unique situation.