Best Apps for Women Concerned with Safety and Security

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The best way to minimize your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime (robbery, sexual assault, rape, domestic violence) is to identify and call on resources to help you out of dangerous situations. Whether you're in immediate trouble or get separated from friends during a night out and don't know how to get home, having these apps on your phone can reduce your risk and bring assistance when you need it. 

Since mobile phones have become ubiquitous, they can be used for security. Hence we bring you five such applications, which could be handy tools for your safety.

These apps will help you alert your near and dear ones, and tell them about your exact location in case of emergencies. 

Although several were originally developed for students to reduce the risk of sexual assault on campus, they are suitable for all women :

1. Circle of 6

Free Available on iPhone
This app is a must-have for any woman with an iPhone. Designed for college students, Circle of 6 is also useful for high school students or any female of any age who wants an easy-to-use system to alert friends when she's in a threatening situation. As fully functional as those apps which require you to subscribe to a monthly/yearly service plan, Circle of 6 has an unobtrusive screen that's simple to operate. Two taps will send out one of three predetermined text messages to 6 contacts of your choice including a call for help getting home that automatically includes an address and map of your exact location, or a request for a phone call from you to break up a tense situation. The app also contains pre-programmed national hotline numbers and a local number you can customize for campus security, police or 911. Circle of 6 is the winner of the Department of Health and Human Services / White House "Apps Against Abuse" Challenge and its four developers have significant expertise in the fields of sexual violence prevention, mobile technology, graphic design and healthy relationship building. Three in fact are women.

2. Fight back

This app is paid. 
Availability: All smartphones and Java-based feature phones

Fightback is an India specific application available for all types of mobile phones. Fightback uses GPS, SMS, location maps, GPRS, email and your Facebook account to inform your loved ones in case you are in danger. You can add up to five emergency contacts to the list. When the 'Panic' button is pressed from the mobile application, the portal alerts page gets updated with the live alert data and shows the location of the alert on the Google Map.

This will be visible to all the users of the web portal. The portal also sends out SMS messages to the mobile numbers pre-set by the user. When this hyperlink is clicked, it will show the location of the app user on Google Maps. The web portal also updates the user's Facebook status with the SOS message. This SOS message will be visible to all the friends who are connected to the user via Facebook.

When the Facebook message is clicked, it will take the Facebook friend to the web portal Alert Page, and will show the location of the mobile user when the SOS was raised, along with a time stamp. The mobile application user can avoid Facebook updates by changing the setting from the My Profile Page. 

3. Hollaback
Available on iPhone and Android
""Hollaback! You have the power to end street harassment" is the tag line for this app which tackles the crime one perpetrator at a time. Users can choose to take and upload a photo of their harasser "caught in the act" and submit their story to be recorded and mapped on This not only signals the perpetrator that his image will be shared and posted on a street harassment prevention website, but also warns others of areas in which harassment occurs. Hollaback's premise is that "street harassment is a gateway crime that makes other forms of gender-based violence OK." They encourage users to submit stories and photos of street harassment at every level from catcalls from total strangers to groping hands on a crowded bus and individuals exposing themselves on a subway. An estimated 80-90% of women have been harassed in public, and as Hollaback's executive director Emily May explains, she has a ten-year goal -- to end street harassment so that she's out of a job. In addition to the apps and website, Hollaback is part of an international movement with locally-based Hollaback organizations in major cities and metropolitan areas in over 18 countries.

4. bSafe

Free and Subscription Versions
Available on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry
A personal safety alarm that sends an emergency message to your chosen contacts with the push of a single button, bSafe's slogan is "Never walk alone." The free version allows you to set up a safety net of "Guardians" who can respond to your SOS text message; one Guardian you designate will receive a phone call.(Both versions give you an unlimited number of Guardians available by text message; the subscription version gives you up to 3 Guardians who can be called simultaneously.) All Guardians receive a text message with a link to a map showing your location via GPS. You can also program a Fake Incoming Call if you are threatened, with six options for when the call should be initiated (immediately, 5 seconds, 15 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes.) The subscription version of bSafe gives you two additional levels of safety: a Risk Mode with real time GPS tracking of your position, and a Timer Mode with automatic alarm activation (e.g. if you don't log in after the programmed time period, your Guardians will receive an alert with your entire route mapped out.) The cost for the bSafe Premium subscription is $1.99/month or $14.99/year. The original idea was developed by Silje Vallestad, a mom who wanted to use mobile technology to keep her kids safe. With no knowledge of the industry, she won a business plan competition and used the money to create a safety alarm for kids, BipperKids. When other women told her they were "borrowing" their kids phones for their evening runs, she created bSafe. 

5. SOS Whistle

Availability: All phones

SOS Whistle does not send an SOS or let your friends known where you are. Rather, as its name suggests, the app has a very simple function-to trigger a whistle. In fact, it can trigger a whistle sound even if the phone is in silent mode. Thus, it is a great app in times of danger to tell other passers-by of your situation. You don't even need a data connection or GPS service. You just have to tap the screen and the app will start an alarm. 

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