By Shania Pagan
She did everything right. She left her friend’s home at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3. She wore sensible shoes, walked on roads that were brightly lit, and even made sure to call her boyfriend on what was meant to be her two-mile walk home. She is Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive who was on her way home in London, England when she was kidnapped and murdered by a police officer.
Her disappearance and death sparked outrage. It only further confirmed that women are not able to exist without the ever present danger of being attacked by dangerous men. Some women are made to feel that they have to ensure their safety in any way they can.
Safety apps are the latest option. After the death of Sarah Everard, conversations about these apps have been circling the internet, intended to bring ease and some comfort to those walking to their cars, coming home from work, and even leaving a friend’s home.
The state of Florida was ranked third in the country for the most reported human trafficking cases, according to the Florida Department of Education. The city of Tampa itself has been known for contributing to these dangers.
At the same time as the highly anticipated Superbowl in February, the Hillsborough Country Police Department apprehended 75 people who were found guilty of either selling or buying sex. According to Hillsborough County sheriff, Chad Chronister, three of these arrests were male sex traffickers, and two of the victims were underaged. Statistics released from the Tampa FBI show that there are approximately 50 or more minor sex-trafficking victims rescued a year.
With such extreme dangers occurring in this city, safety is of the utmost importance, especially amongst young women. There are three apps which have become popular on social media, with nearly 20 million downloaded users combined amongst the three.
Noonlight, is a mobile app that can trigger requests to emergency services and send them to your location within the click of a button. After creating a profile with some personal information, a picture of yourself, and emergency contacts, the app requests for you to allow your location to be used at all times. Closing out the app without allowing this feature, makes it stop tracking you. If a friend suspects you are in danger, they can send a “check-in” request as well, and if you don’t respond within five minutes, the app can help trace your steps and notify emergency services if needed.
You can use Noonlight’s service for free, or get the full protection options – which includes hands free help and Alexa connection – with a monthly trial period. The app emphasizes that “No Commitment” is needed for this, and you can cancel the subscription at least a day before the payment is due with no charge, an unlimited amount of times.
Sekura, a women’s safety app created for those who feel unsafe walking alone at night, uses a really interesting and underrated concept. The app can fake an incoming call with a ringtone button, make a siren sound – an extremely loud police siren – send a message with your location, and even call an emergency contact. The app works to continuously improve women’s safety. If you notice that there is a dark street along your commute, you can mark it on the app so that other women in your area will be notified of it before they come across it.
The app and it’s services are completely free and extremely simple to use with just one screen containing all safety method options to choose from.
Life360 is an app similar to the Apple feature of “Find My Friends.” You share your location and create a circle with chosen contacts. Within the app, you can see other’s locations, phone battery percentages, and even how fast someone is driving. Life360 offers a crime report service where you can view and report recent incidents, and also see if there are any sexual offenders located in your area.
This service is also completely free to download and use, and a subscription with more features can be purchased with a seven-day free trial.
Some women are finding that they may feel the need to resort to using apps for added protection while going about their daily lives, but in the case that they do make a difference, it could be worth giving them a try.