iPhone App Arms Users With Silent Panic Button

iPhone App Arms Users With Silent Panic Button

A new app called Silent Bodyguard features a panic button that sends an SOS distress signal with GPS coordinates to potential rescuers without alerting onlookers.

While the $3.99 app, available on iTunes, isn’t the first ICE (in case of emergency) app, this one is backed by Dr. Clint Van Zandt, former FBI chief hostage negotiator and criminal profiler.

Van Zandt says the app may prove useful in situations where a person is trapped or in grave danger but can’t place a call or create a text message. In Silent Bodyguard, users program in contacts for SMS alerts, calls or email addresses to reach in case of emergency.

Silent bodyguard is the brainchild of Los Angeles mom Jo Perry whose daughters came a little too close to becoming crime statistics for comfort.  Her youngest daughter was the classmate of a girl abducted and killed while  on an errand and her oldest daughter attends the same University as the graduate student recently murdered in a lab.

Perry, who co-developed the app with Justin Leader, points out that once activated, the SOS messages will continue to be sent out every 60 seconds, updating location. Even if it goes out once, four emergency contacts will know that the user is in some kind of trouble. The alarms keep going out until turned off.
The idea is that you can communicate distress when you can’t make a call or a text. Perry keeps hers in a pocket, not her purse, just in case.

“The app is simple, but because we designed it to be silent and for “stealth” activation, it’s not the usual on-off button people are used to, ” Perry told CoM in an email. “That’s why people don’t always “get it” at first. The home screen is designed to look like a photo viewer, not an alarm. Again, to make it easy to use when a person feels threatened in the presence of people who might be hostile. Joggers, college students, realtors, etc. can find themselves in scary situations with people around whom they can’t just dial a friend and say, “I’m scared.”

We do like the idea, but wonder what you’re supposed to do when the first thing the perp grabs is your iPhone…

About the author

Nicole MartinelliNicole Martinelli heads up Cult of Mac Magazine, our weekly publication available on iTunes. You can find her on Twitter and Google+. If you're doing something new, cool and Apple-related, email her.

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