Darker Nights: Apps to make you feel safe when out alone at night
For many people, being out alone at night doesn’t feel totally safe. Recent research by the UN revealed 97% of women in the UK aged 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment of some kind, so it’s hardly surprising women in particular are very wary when out and about alone.
You may adopt practices such as messaging friends and family of your whereabouts, or making regular calls to trusted people during your journeys, but there are other safety measures you can put in place – including downloading safety apps on your mobile phone.
Homes for Students, one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation has undertaken research earlier in the year to identify some of the best apps available to help you feel safe whilst out alone. Let’s review their selected apps:
Walksafe (available on the App Store and Google Play) – The app includes a map that shows crime figures taken from monthly reports, whether that be sexual assault, mugging, knife crime, and pickpocketing. The app enables you to avoid hotspots on your walk home, offering greater reassurance. If you come close to a location where a crime has been reported, the app will alert you, so you can avoid that area. 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. The impressive ‘TapSafe’ feature allows you to check-in with your friends if you’re feeling unsafe. You can either tap ‘OK’ every 30 seconds or ‘nervous’ every 10 seconds before your loved ones are alerted and shown your location.
You can create your own private groups called ‘circles’ and view the real-time location of those individuals. Additionally, you can receive alerts when someone arrives or leaves a destination, so you don’t have to send them loads of panic messages. For full functionality the app requires a few permissions, which are quick and easy to do. A feature called ‘Driver Care Support’ enables you to speak to a live representative over the phone via a simple one-push button.
Red Panic Button (available on the App Store and Google Play) – Wherever you may be, always be prepared. The Red Panic Button app has a widget that allows you to immediately inform your loved ones where you are so they can find you. Though this app is very simple, it’s incredibly effective for personal security, medical emergencies, and your loved ones’ security also. This app is a true lifeline that will send an SMS, email containing your GPS coordinates, and a Google maps link to your emergency contacts.
One Scream (available on the App Store and Google Play) – an incredible app that can actually detect a scream even when it’s at the bottom of your bag. Once your scream is detected, a text message and an automated call with your location is then sent to your nominated contact. If you have an Android phone the line will stay open so your chosen contact can hear, identify, and get help.
The app is all about giving users the confidence to feel safe and secure when they’re walking to their destination. You can add up to 3 people to be notified when you need help, and you have 20 seconds to cancel the alarm if you need to.
Please note, One Scream can only detect panic screams, it can’t detect any other words.
Hollie Guard (available on the App Store and Google Play) – As seen on BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow, Hollie Guard Extra is a personal safety app that provides real-life alert notifications if you’re in danger. A generic alarm profile can be customised with a picture of your choice, and a second shake will produce a flashing light and a high-pitched beep.
It also has a ‘stealth alert’, perfect for situations where you don’t want any attention to be raised!
The ‘Deterrent’ feature will ensure a flashing light and high-pitched beep on your phone, to make sure passers-by are fully aware of a dangerous situation.
Silent Beacon (available only on Google Play) – This app is totally free and sends your GPS location in real-time. The safety app lets you instantly connect with multiple loved ones in an emergency and shares your location. You can set up primary contacts and voice alerts, with no mandatory monthly fees, unlike some other apps.
With just one touch, you can send text messages, push notifications, emails, and voice calls to your primary contacts.
One of the best aspects of this app, is the fact that it’s incredibly easy to navigate – which is very ideal if you’re in a dangerous situation.
SOS Stay Safe (free download available only via Amazon) – If you want to use your smartphone as a safety device, SOS Stay Safe allows you to do just that.
What separates this app from the others is the fact that it sends the device’s battery level to an emergency contact.
It’ll also send a recorded audio clip with just a shake of the device – a discreet way of recording without alerting suspicion.
SOS Stay Safe will send a text message or email to your selected contacts and your location will be sent at regular intervals. This will help your key contact to work out whether you’re on the move or not, another great unique feature.
bSafe – never walk alone (available on the App Store and Google Play) – This app enables users to activate the SOS button by touch or voice, and your key contacts will get a sound alarm with your location. They’ll be able to see and hear everything in real-time, recorded with audio and video, and sent across. The live streaming feature is what makes this app a reliable one when walking home alone at night.
You can also invite key contacts to join you on your journey via the app map, and this way, you know you’re being watched.
Users can get a fake phone call to get out of unpleasant situations, and notify friends when they’ve checked in.
Shake2Safety (only available on Google Play) – Lets you send text messages to emergency contacts, as well as share pictures and audio in emergency situations.
By shaking the phone or pressing the power button 4 times, you can send as many text messages as you like to primary contacts, but only one phone call.
It’ll work on a locked screen, and also when you have no internet connection, ideal for when you’re walking home alone at night.
You can now send a picture of the emergency situation to your contact, and it’ll share your location too.