personal safety app

Personal Safety Apps: The 5 that could save your life

Why personal safety apps are a must

 

Personal safety apps, or simply just “Apps”, are here to stay. There is literally an app for everything these days. But as you already know, all apps are not created equal.

Most apps come to you at no cost. The apps that cost you are usually an upgraded version of the free ones you already have.

A couple of years ago I remember stumbling upon an app that was basically a compass on your smart phone.

At the time, being a former Marine, I thought that this compass app would be the only personal safety app anyone would ever need. Ever.

I was wrong. Again. (Disclaimer; I also thought that texting was dumb and would never catch on when it first came out). 

As anyone my age will tell you, technology can be intimidating. I have decided, in my late 40’s, to embrace it. I tell my peers that technology does not care about you or your old school sensibilities.

You either get on board or get left behind.

Since I started this blog, many of you have told me about personal safety apps that you use. Some of them are really good.

Some are a waste of your time.

I have researched several of these and have picked 5 that have passed the “cop” test (meaning do I think that the app is practical in a real world scenario where your butt may be on the line). These are in no particular order. And yes, this article is aimed mostly for my female readers.

Not because you are female but because men’s ego’s prevent them from thinking that they would ever need a safety app. Just another point illustrating why women are smarter than men in my opinion.

Note: this post contains affiliate links 

1. SendHelp

I really love this app. It is so simple that even someone as technically challenged as me could easily use it. Forgive me if I repeat myself  but simplicity cannot be overstated. It literally is just a panic button on your phone.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you just pulled night shift at your job. As you walk to your car you remember that you were running late to work at the start of your shift. Because of your lateness, the best parking spots were taken.

The only ones left were way out in BFE on the top-level of the parking garage.

As you walk to your car you notice that the security guard is nowhere to be found. Rumor has it he’s been caught sleeping while on duty by management in the past.

As you get closer you notice some dude just standing near your car. You don’t think anything of it until you see him suddenly crouch down at the front of your car and between the parking wall.

You immediately panic. After you accept that this is actually going down, you pull out your phone and simply hit the button.

BOOM!

An alert, along with your GPS coordinates, are then sent to loved ones you have already pre-selected. You can also set the alert to be sent via Facebook, Twitter etc.

(Tile is a great gift for those who can’t remember where their stuff is)

2. Family Locator  

This is a great personal safety app for families. It can also be a great leveraging tool for parents raising rebellious teenagers.

In my opinion, this app could greatly reduce the anxiety that parents feels when they have to juggle parenting while trying to make ends meet.

Here’s how it works.

You can add family, friends or anyone important that lets you see in real-time their location via GPS.

You can also set an area around you that lets you know when these people are near you or come within your preset designated bubble.

Pros and cons.personal safety apps

The pros are obvious. This app lets you track the location of your kids in real-time.

If Johnny says he’s going over to Scott’s to place XBox, this app will confirm it. What if they disable the GPS on their phone? Easy. No phone. And no XBox.

Now the con can be a little slippery. Don’t get me wrong, I really like this app. Let’s say your BF or GF says they have to make a beer run or a tutoring appointment.

Satellites don’t lie.

The throne of lies they sit upon will be exposed by this app if they are being bad.

 

(I wish sittercity was around when my kids were younger. They definitely take the stress out of finding one.)

3. SafeSnap

This personal safety app is super cool.

Not unlike the first app discussed, SafeSnap will allow you to send an alert to loved ones that you are in trouble. It will also let you take photos of your attacker.

The photos will be sent instantly to your email and loved ones you have designated.

I was a little skeptical about this app until I had an epiphany. As a cop out on the streets, the one trend that has exploded in the past 5 years have been the use of cell phones. They are everywhere.

And everyone has one. Even old ladies (I have nothing against old ladies by the way).

I can almost gauge the severity of a call or crime scene by how many cell phones are out and recording. It’s just how it is now. If it’s not on video, it didn’t happen.

And the golden goose of all videos are catching cops doing things they shouldn’t.

The same holds true for creeps. You might as well just assume that your image will be captured during your crime.

SafeSnap will not stop an attacker. What it will do is possibly deter one if he knows that his photo has been taken.

4. RunSafe

There is nothing worse than having to worry about your safety while enjoying a great run. The personal safety app RunSafe is a great tool to alleviate that stress.

This awesome personal safety app includes the Panic Button feature, which not only sends an alert to your contacts when activated, but also plays a loud siren and strobe light.

It also provides several minutes of recorded sound that becomes available to your contacts.

The community alert option also lets users report dangers in their area to help keep others safe.

Runners, especially female runners, can be especially vulnerable when running alone. This app may not prevent an attack but with the siren and strobe light feature it may deter one.

For other running safety tips from me, go check out my running safe article from Family Safe First.

(Lookupfare is the only site I use when booking flights and making hotel reservations.) 

5. BSafe

Probably the most popular personal safety app out there. It also happens to be my favorite. It isn’t far off from the others previously mentioned.

Here’s how it works.

Lets say you are out on your first date with Rusty who you connected with on Tinder. You have been chatting him up for weeks and he seems terrific.

You both plan on meeting up at the cool bar in town for a drink. The first 10 minutes seem okay but something isn’t right.

He is coming on way too strong physically and the way he treats the bartender doesn’t reassure your gut feelings about this guy.

The deal breaker comes when he says he has to meet his probation officer in the morning.

You nervously ask him why he’s on probation.

The only thing he says, with a wry smile, is that it was her word against his.

After hearing this, you take your phone out of your purse and simply hit the BSafe button. By hitting the button, an alert text is sent to your “guardians” letting them know you are in danger.

Also, once the button is pushed, the app immediately starts taking pictures and starts video recording from your phone. All of this data is saved to a BSafe server, if, god forbid, it is needed later for a police investigation.

Another feature that I really like about this particular personal safety app is the “fake call “ option.

If you realize early on that things are not right, you can easily program the app to send you a fake call at a time of your choosing. This can give you an excuse to leave or end the date.

Bonus App-AmberAlert GPS

This personal safety app has been included in the original post. This is a must for parents with children of all ages, especially for those who may have special needs and require that extra level of caution and protection. Click on the link below to learn more about this outstanding product.


Note: Please let me know if you have used any of the apps mentioned here. There may have been upgrades that could be included in future articles. Also, if you know of personal safety apps that should have been included in this article, feel free to let everyone know.

Remember, these apps are not intended to completely keep you from being attacked. They are just another tool in your toolbox. It is the mindset that we are building here to keep you on the offense and always self-aware.


Some of you have reached out and want to share your story with others. A blog like this one is a great way to reach those who could benefit from your experience and interests. Blogging has changed my perspective and my life.

It could do the same for you.

I have partnered with HostGatorwhich in my opinion is the simplest and fastest way to get you started on your blogging journey. If you have any questions about starting a blog or a website, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly at bart@familysafefirst.com.

A 23-year veteran police officer, Bart spent time as a patrolmen and a violent crimes detective (specialized in strategic intelligence and research analysis). Aside from this experience in high profile case investigations, he has received training from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in Advanced Intelligence Analysis. Bart also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Strategic Intelligence (Magna Cum Laude) from Liberty University. As a father of four, husband and law enforcement officer, he wants to share his knowledge on safety with you. Bart is also a contributing writer for Law Enforcement Today.

14 Comments

  • B. January 26, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Those are actually some pretty cool apps. I was kind of skeptical when I first opened the article. But that was really informative. As a female, and a police officer, I think these could be useful in not only protecting yourself but also catching someone in the act if they try to hurt you.

    Reply
    • Bart Proctor January 26, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Thank you B. I was too until I started really looking at what this technology could do. I believe the creeps out there will think twice before trying to pull some of these attacks. Thanks again and please be safe out there on the streets!

      Reply
      • Justin H. Moehringer March 6, 2017 at 3:51 am

        Hey Bart, I appreciate the quality articles you write to promote personal safety. Guidance from real life experience is invaluable.

        My company, SecretlySafe, is coming out with the first personal safety app that uses voice recognition. I think it will be quite useful for people when they can’t reach their phone or need to get help without anyone else around them knowing it. No more panic buttons or needing your phone in your hand. Just set a 4-6 word phrase and turn the app on listening mode. If your phrase gets detected our operators will immediately be notified and direct police to your exact location using the phones GPS. You can also have text messages sent to emergency contacts that include the address.

        Free private beta starts later this month and I welcome you to check the website out to get a better understanding of the apps capabilities.

        http://www.secretlysafe.com

        Take care,

        Justin H. Moehringer
        Founder/President, SecretlySafe, Inc.

        Reply
  • Diana January 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Your Aunt Dottie just got herself an iPhone. I better download one of these apps for her. Bart, this article was great and I will be forwarding to Greyson and the other kids. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    Reply
    • Bart Proctor January 28, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks Diana. Yes, these Apps could definitely bring piece of mind to your Mom. And I agree, Greyson and her friends could benefit from some of these as well. Have a great weekend and be safe!

      Reply
  • Kim January 29, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I really appreciate you taking the time to research this. The first thing I thought about with these was protecting my daughter, but I can use these too of course. I’m for sure going to check these out (especially BeSafe and RunSafe). Thanks Bart.

    Reply
    • Bart Proctor January 29, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      No problem Kim. It’s crazy to think that our phones can do so much! They may not completely prevent an attack but could possibly deter that one creep from even trying it. Hope you have a great Sunday and thanks for posing the question.

      Reply
  • Olivier January 29, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Bart, thanks for the great article. Maybe you could be interested in considering Safone (www.getsafone.com) as well in your next analysis? I’d be curious to read what you think about our app?

    Reply
  • Personal Safety Apps: The 5 that could save you... January 29, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    […] The top 5 personal safety apps rated by a veteran cop of 23 years. The apps were rated against real world scenarios from a cops perspective.  […]

    Reply
  • Bart Proctor February 3, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Thanks Olivier. Your website would not allow me to navigate to your product. If you want to send me the link I will try again and check it out. Have a great day!

    Reply
  • Stacey March 4, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I just wanted to thank you for this information and how right on you are with everything you said!!! We as females, no matter what age, need to be aware and ready to keep ourselves safe especially when we are alone! As for technology lol your right on the targets…we have to embrace it or as you said “get left behind”!!! This is a very awesome blog…it’s the first to really hit a topic that is needed to be read about and I like how precise and straightforward you are! Congratulations and you definitely are on to something…good luck and God Bless!!!

    Reply
    • Bart Proctor March 4, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you Stacey for the support and kind words. A running theme throughout my articles are having the proper mindset and attitude that will prepare you for when an attack occurs or is about to. Like I said, these Apps are just tools to be added to your toolbox so when the time comes, you will be ready. Thanks again and be safe!

      Reply

Leave a Reply