When I was in elementary school, we lived in Kingston, Jamaica. We moved back to the United States shortly after my dad was attacked in our garage on the way to work one morning by two men – one wielding a heavy metal pipe and the other a machete. In that impoverished country, it’s pretty likely they thought that briefcase he carried every day was stuffed with cash. Keeping his wits about him and a lot of luck probably saved Dad’s life.
It’s the sort of thing that you would think might make you paranoid. Nonetheless, I dashed off to Europe by myself at the age of twenty to backpack from hostel to hostel (none hostile) and have frequently felt well-trained, confident and comfortable in a variety of situations around the world – in large cities and open spaces alike.
In college, Mom gave me various helpful safety devices – a yellow plastic thing to wear around my neck and a similar handheld blue device, both of which would emit a high-pitched alarm if yanked from the cord. Seemed helpful, so I would wear them running. I’m not sure if this is obvious, but that’s the sort of device that would be exceptionally helpful in a college bar setting, but less so on a well-occupied and well-lit college campus while out for a run.
With all that said, around a decade ago I was fortunate to have a fantastic job located about a block from my house – literally visible from across the street. I often worked long hours and would find myself alone in the office late at night wrapping up projects. Although my nearly 6’5″ husband was less than four football fields away, he might be busy or even in bed by the time I locked the building down to walk home some nights. If I couldn’t reach him, I would call another friend or family member or pretend to be on the phone to thwart any imagined or would-be threats. I found those late night situations – in eyesight of my home – far more jittery than any trekking I’d done alone in Europe down a vacant alley or through eerie tunnels.
In fact, a 2010 Gallup survey revealed that nearly four in ten Americans say they would be afraid to walk alone at night within a mile of their home, and that nearly half of all Americans say there is more crime in their local area than a year prior. Despite a good deal of time as a youth and an adult camping, hiking and backpacking in remote areas, I certainly never felt threatened. It’s in the day to day situations that are most routine that we can feel most uneasy.
I recently had the chance to review a safety app called StreetSafe. It’s a free app available for iPhone, Android or Blackberry devices along with a paid plan (monthly, quarterly or annual rates ranging from $12 to $20 per month as well as family plan options. It took less than 20 minutes for me to download the app, register myself and completely understand the program offerings – the website is clear and concise.
Once installed and activated, the app is basic – tapping the icon opens a simple screen with two options: a silent alarm that immediately notifies local authorities (via GPS and a 911 call) with a distress call and your exact location and personal/medical information OR a Walk With Me feature which automatically dials a trained safety professional to remotely “escort” you, provide support and comfort and dial law enforcement the moment you sound threatened.
Call it paranoid or prepared – StreetSafe calls it less than the cost of a pepperoni pizza each month for safety and security. It’s an intriguing and timely product. Would you use it?
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® However, I only mention products that truly earn my enthusiasm and all opinions are most certainly my own. #CBias #SocialFabric Learn more about StreetSmart at www.StreetSafe.com or via Facebook or Twitter.
Shell (Panama-mama) says
Cool idea, although I’d probably accidentally set it off all the time. My iPhone already randomly calls 911 so much I know the lady at the call center! 🙂
Ha! I hear you, girl. I’m glad you mentioned that, because I should have noted that there is an auto-cancel option… you have a moment to change your mind if you call for help accidentally.
And yes, I am SO the same way. I had to add a passcode to my phone not to protect my information or keep others out, but to keep myself from constantly dialing 911 accidentally! 🙂