This video and post in our Situational Awareness series will address the very popular “personal safety apps” and also reinforce more tips for personal safety. Just a brief internet search will find countless accounts of people confident in trusting their safety to their smartphone instead of other tools and skills which take more effort than a simple download and activation.
Whether you have a safety app on your phone or know someone who does please take a moment and imagine the following scenario:
You are walking though a dark parking garage and a man appears “out of nowhere” and starts to approach you very quickly. You look around and there isn’t another person around. He has nearly reached you and he may have something in his hand…
What thoughts are going through your mind right now?
Do you know what to do?
Would you use your safety app in this situation?
Have you worked out a plan of action in a situation like this with yourself or your loved ones?
If you haven’t thought about a plan for a situation like this or you don’t know what to do, you need to keep reading. What would you give at this moment to be able to go back and make sure you or your loved one had a plan of action?
If your only plan is to dial 911 or use your safety app that may be a false sense of security.
Do you even have the time to activate the app?
Whether you want to admit it or not, a lot of people fear for their safety. I have researched several personal safety apps and these are an excellent resource for certain circumstances. Using GPS, SMS, video, alerts, alarms, and a variety of other features, these apps are well meaning and aim to keep you safe. Some dial 911 when activated and others alert your “circle of friends” and social media accounts that you are in danger.
Whether you choose to have a safety App on your phone is entirely up to you, but remember:
-The average encounter is over in 9 seconds
-The average time for an emergency dispatcher to answer is 15-30 seconds
-The average time for a police officer to reach you is 10-15 minutes
-The average time for your circle of friends notified by your app to arrive? (Not sure. Where will your “circle of friends” be when something may happen to you?)
Ignorance is bliss! It’s nice to think that the push of a button on a safety app will send the police and our “circle of friends” just in time to save us. Here are some tips that can make all the difference in keeping you safe and aren’t just relating to safety apps.
- Don’t EVER take a short cut or walk in an area that doesn’t have a lot of people around. Predators are more likely to strike if you are alone and others are not around to help or witness it.
- Pay attention to your surroundings at least 30-50 feet all around you. This gives you some time to move away from possible danger.
- Look for anything out of the ordinary or anyone just loitering. Someone that is hanging out and then all of a sudden moves straight for you is a red flag.
- Notice if a stranger is taking an interest in you and is staring at you. Strong eye contact without blinking is an ominous sign before an attack. This shows the predator is locking on to their target before the attack.
- Be ready to move away from the stranger if they try to get close to you and do not answer their questions. This is often a test or distraction technique before an attack.
- Trust your intuition. Don’t be polite to strangers. It’s better to be rude and safe than polite and sorry.
- If they tell you not to yell, that is your cue to yell. If they tell you not to move then that is your cue to move. Fight! Use any form of self defense tool you have on you. NO ONE has the right to harm you and it is your right to fight for your life.
- Be sure to get away from the threat first and then use your safety app or dial 911. Don’t solely rely on your safety app features such as facial recognition or video. There’s one app available which claims to have a live police officer appear on your phone and intervene while videoing the whole situation.
- Check your safety app with the 911 dispatcher to make sure it works in the city that you live since some are not set up in certain locations. I have personally called the dispatcher in my city and some apps were not set up in my location. I was on another phone with the dispatcher, activated the safety app which was supposed to notify 911, and personally witnessed that no call for help came through…
It is wise to acknowledge that violence is around us especially when you see the statistics below:
An astonishing 1,165,383 VIOLENT crimes occurred in the United States in 2014.
One in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
One in 12 rapes take place in a parking garage.
26% of victims are raped by a stranger.
A recent tragic story was of Haruka Weiser, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Texas who was murdered. You can read the story here. The following is from the story, “It also said campus surveillance video not made public showed the suspect watching a female thought to be Weiser as she walked in the direction of her dorm with her head down, looking at her cellphone.”
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