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This app includes a map that shows crime figures taken from monthly reports, whether that be sexual assault, mugging, knife crime or pickpocketing. It means you can avoid hotspots on your walk home and give yourself a little more peace of mind. If you come close to a location where a crime has been reported, the app will alert you, while the HomeSafe feature lets you set an estimated time of arrival when you set off and will send your location to an emergency contact if you don’t get home in time. You can also set a reminder for emergency contacts to check in with you at a specific time.
Londoner Uta de Veer set up the app One Scream after her friend was attacked. By using artificial intelligence and voice activation to tell when a person is screaming, it activates an alarm on your phone. You’ll hear a loud siren, the phone will vibrate and lights will flash. A notification also pops up to give you 20 seconds to press it and cancel the alarm if you need to. After 20 seconds, both an automated voice call and a text message are sent to your ‘Helpers’ – contacts you set up – to deliver the One Scream alert, which includes your name and location. Simply keep your phone to hand or in your bag, with the app turned on as you walk.
Life360 allows you to stay connected to key contacts wherever they are, when you’re walking home alone at night or at any other time. You can create your own private groups called ‘Circles’ and view the real-time location of those individuals. Also, you can receive alerts when someone arrives or leaves a destination – just be aware some features are paid for, so you’ll need to weigh up whether you want to invest or not.
If you don’t want to download an app, Kitestring is a free messaging service that entails only a quick sign-up. From there, text Kitestring to let them know where you’re going and for how long before arranging a time for them to check in on you. They'll text you at the allotted time and all you need to do is text them back to say you're okay. If you don't, they'll send an alert to your emergency contact to let them know something might be wrong.
Red Panic Button
When you download this app, you’ll see a red panic button appear. Once it’s pressed, it sends a Google Maps link to the user's emergency contacts. It also can access users' Twitter accounts in order to tweet emergency messages if needed. A great one for teens or younger children who want an easy-to-use app to keep in touch with parents or caregivers.
The free Silent Beacon app sends your GPS location in real time to connect with loved ones in an emergency. You can set up primary contacts and voice alerts, with no monthly fees, unlike some other apps. Another selling point is that it’s incredibly easy to navigate – ideal if you’re in a dangerous situation or want to get a younger person used to using a personal safety app.
WhatsApp allows users to share their live location with a contact of their choice for either 15 minutes, one hour or eight hours. The feature can be switched off at any time, but during the selected period, certain contacts will be able to see GPS location information, even when the app is not open. To test the function, users must open a chat with another contact, click the ‘+’ symbol, choose ‘location’ and then ‘Share Live Location’. Just make sure location permission is set to ‘always’ in your settings.
Do you work for a business or organisation that operates at night? You can sign up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter here.
Here are some helpful tips from Nick Gazzard, founder & CEO of the Hollie Gazzard Trust...
Avoid walking in places which are isolated.
“If you need to walk at night, take a proactive approach to your safety and turn on any personal security apps before you set off alone. Our app Hollie Guard can notify your chosen contacts that you’re in danger and pinpoint your location with a simple shake or tap of your mobile, so setting this up before you leave the house is a good idea.”
Vary your routes and the times you walk alone.
“If possible, choose routes that have good street lighting and CCTV, and avoid areas where there is heavy vegetation. Take routes where there are other walkers and lots of people around. Use the Journey function within the Hollie Guard app to set the time you intend to reach your destination so the app can alert your emergency contacts if you do not reach it when stated.”
Keep your hands free.
“A lot of apps have been developed so that an alert can be activated quickly with a simple shake or tap then left to do its job. For that reason, it’s so important to keep hands free while you’re walking. A good idea is to wear a coat with pockets and a crossbody back or backpack, so you can have one hand on your phone to shake it should things go wrong.”
Download a personal security app.
“The main thing is to download an app like Hollie Guard – it can track your location as you make your way home, are exercising, or simply going about day-to-day tasks. If at any point you feel unsafe, a shake of the phone will send an alert to a group of pre-set contacts to warn them that you may be in danger. Once the phone has been shaken, it will start recording both audio and video footage of what’s happening. The recording will be saved and automatically sent to your nominated contacts so they can see what is happening and call the police or ambulance service if needed. A further shake will make the phone flash and emit a high-pitched alarm which will alert people nearby that you may be in danger.”
Take action if you’re being followed.
In the event of being followed, simply shake your phone. If you choose, an alarm will begin sounding which can include flashing lights to ward off the person following you. This will also send an alert to an emergency contact with the exact location of where the alert has been placed. In addition, audio and video of the incident begins immediately recording, which is stored in a cloud location, so even if the phone is stolen or disarmed, evidence is being collected. Make your way to the nearest crowded area and let people know around you what is happen. Go into a shop and ask if they have a safe space for you to stay and call the police.”