Personal safety is something we seldom think about, until we find ourselves in an unsafe situation. With technology becoming an increasingly huge part of our lives, some organisations have developed apps and other advancements that can help us feel safer in our cities. Here we will share six safety apps that are transforming personal safety in the digital age.
Free to Be
Free to be is a crowd-sourcing project launched by Plan International designed to reclaim the city for young women, by identifying areas they don’t feel safe in and providing the information to councils, public transport operators and police. Users can geo-tag locations where they feel safe or unsafe. Plan International Australia’s deputy CEO Susanne Legena said the idea arose out of research conducted by the group earlier this year, which suggested that women in Australia feel just as unsafe in some parts of the city, as women in other countries such as Pakistan.
bSafe is a personal safety app where users can notify their friends if they are faced with an emergency. With this app you can alert your friends that you have arrived safely at your destination, and send location information to those in your network. The app also has an SOS button that can set off and send your location to your pre-determined Guardians.
Watch over me
Similar to bSafe, this app acts as a ‘guardian angel in your pocket’, where you can set it up to track your location for a period of time until you reach your intended destination. The app greets you with ‘Watch Over Me While I…’ and ‘For…’. For each statement you fill in an action (‘walk home’, ‘walk to my car’, ‘take a cab’, ‘meet someone’, or add your own event), as well as a timeframe (hours and minutes). If you don’t confirm your safety by the time allocated, the app contacts your designated friends with your GPS location. Shaking your phone can also trigger an alert.
The UK charity Absafe recently launched an app to help children make safe decisions if faced with a fire in their home. The app teaches children about the dangers of fire and smoke as well as the consequences of making prank phone calls. On the app, users must navigate their way out of a burning house within a two-minute time frame, or they face serious injuries.
This is a personal safety app that can help you make safer decisions, based on the safety score of a specific location. The app sends you alerts if you have entered an unsafe area. You can also use it to find the safest route to travel. Safetipin judges safety based on lighting, visibility, whether there are other women and children around, and the level of security around – among other factors. This is a great app for travellers who are travelling solo, as well as families with children.
Launched in Brazil, to help women feel safer, Clique 180 taps into a Network of Specialized Services of Assistance to Women – showing which local, state-level or federal public services, non-governmental or academic resources are located closest to the user, their hours of operation and how to get there. A very useful app that can help solve the problem of violent crimes in Brazilian cities.
The way we use technology has changed rapidly over the last few years, and if these apps are any indication—our reliance on mobile phones may very well be a good thing. Would you use any of these apps?