The WalkSafe app scans the road ahead, notifying users of reports of sexual assault, knife attacks, mugging and pickpocketing. It has been downloaded 300,000 times in one week and is in the top 10 Android downloads chart. That is compared with only 2,000 downloads prior to Everard’s disappearance.
“This app should not have to exist,” said Emma Kay, the co-founder of the app to Tech Radar, “but if creating it helps just one person avoid a bad situation, it’s worth it,” she says.
Users of the app can choose a different route, avoiding crime hotspots, and use the HomeSafe feature, which allows them to set an estimated time of arrival and their location will be sent to an emergency contact if they don’t record their arrival.
Another app that’s also seen a record number of downloads since the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard is Hollie Guard. Named after Hollie Gazzard who was tragically killed by her ex-partner in 2014, it was developed by PanicGuard which also has a number of personal safety applications, and was founded with the original aim of safeguarding women.
A free mobile app that raises an alert with a simple shake, Hollie Guard has now been used by over 200,000 people in the UK alone. Says PanicGuard’s Founder Mr. Dissing:
“PanicGuard and the Hollie Guard app were founded with the purpose of helping people feel safe and to provide a solution when people find themselves in a dangerous situation. We want to raise awareness of Hollie Guard so that we can protect as many communities as possible.”
The Hollie Guard service was recently expanded to provide the option of real-time assistance via a police-approved, 24/7 alert monitoring centre. Hollie Guard Extra is a very cost-effective way to provide support for victims and to give them greater confidence when in situations of high or potential risk, claims PanicGuard.
Adds Nick Gazzard, Founder of the Hollie Gazzard Trust said: “Whilst we hope that our users are never in a position to have to use the app’s features, we want as many people to download the app so that they have the reassurance of having a personal safety device in their pocket if they need it.”