When you walk through an alley or down a dark street, you’ll never walk alone if you download a cellphone “companion” app that instantly connects you to family, police or a concerned operator when you get that uh-oh feeling.
Each one of the security apps has an individual twist on what it takes to stay safe. ADT’s Canopy connects you to a live operator who virtually escorts you through a dark garage to your car. SafeTrek tells designated contacts you’re in danger if you just remove your thumb from the screen. And TrekSafe lets friends and family know you’re OK when you’re too busy to text each loved one indivually.
Some personal security apps are free; others require a nominal charge or monthly subscription. Here’s a look at some popular companion apps.
Companion App (free)
When you feel like company on your commute, the free Companion app gives you a second or third pair of eyes on your journey to make sure you get home safe. Developed by five University of Michigan students to protect against campus crime, Companion lets your designated contacts virtually follow your steps or ride.
- If your dot stops moving, or moves much faster, the app asks if you’re OK.
- If you don’t respond in 15 seconds, an alert is sent to your companions, who can alert police, and a siren goes off on the traveler’s phone.
- You can push an “I feel nervous” button to alert companions that you’re going through dicey areas.
- You can push a “Call Police” button and Companion instantly shares your GPS location.
TrekSafe (99 cents)
TrekSafe can send preset messages to a list of designated contacts to let them know you’ve arrived safely in Dubai, having fun hiking the Appalachian Trail, or survived the hurricane. TrekSafe features:
- SAFE function to let multiple contacts know you’re alive and well.
- HELP function lets your contacts know your location and that you need assistance.
- Tracker that saves your tracks in a .kml file (similar to an Excel file but used to display geographic data on things like Google Maps) that you can easily email to contacts.
- Personal alarm that alerts rescuers that you’re alive and directs them to your approximate location.
SafeTrek is a bare-bones personal security app. When you activate the app, a blue, thumbprint-shaped icon appears on the screen. You press the icon while you’re traveling somewhere that makes you feel uneasy, and release it when you feel safe.
Upon release, you have 10 seconds to punch in a four-digit pin. If you don’t, an operator contacts police with your location.
ADT Canopy (included with alarm monitoring agreement)
ADT, also offers a personal security app when you sign up for home security monitoring. The app has these safety features.
Security Screen with Tap Connections:
Canopy features one-touch connections to a blaring, blinking alarm, 911, and location and direction alerts to your trusted circle of friends and family. The tap function is great for teens who can discreetly tap for help when they’re in dicey situations.
Tap “Call Chaperon” and you’ll connect to a live ADT agent who will virtually accompany you when you’re walking alone in a deserted parking garage, a dark campus or scary parts of town. If something bad happens, the Chaperon will call authorities, direct you to emergency help, call 911, or directly send help to your location.
Circles of Friends:
You can create “circles” of friends, family or bowling league buddies who show up on your screen and are reachable with a one-tap phone call or text. The “Shout Out” icon accesses a log of all check-ins and messages sent in your circle; and the “Check In” icons lets your circle know where you are.