Smartphone app can help keep you safe without dialing 911 - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Smartphone app can help keep you safe without dialing 911

Shawn Smith, CCU sophomore Shawn Smith, CCU sophomore
Kia Hutcherson, CCU Freshman Kia Hutcherson, CCU Freshman

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A smartphone app help keep you safe has been designed for and by college students. 

The app is called is Safe Trek. Anyone can download it, but the concept came about by four University of Missouri students after they noticed the blue light emergency systems on their campus were not as effective. 

For Coastal Carolina University freshman Kia Hutcherson, safety is always a priority.

Hutcherson said, "I work on campus and so when I get off at 12 o'clock I call campus safety and they walk me to my room or they'll take me there."

But she said when campus police can't always make it to her, it's good to know there are smartphone apps that are convenient. "I actually feel safe just hearing about it," explained Hutcherson. 

The smartphone app called Safe Trek allows users to proactively protect themselves without the heavy commitment of calling 911.

Here's how it works: you download the app and at any moment you feel unsafe open the app on your smartphone, place your finger on the screen. When you arrive to a safe location, or there is no longer a danger threat, take your finger off the screen, then you will be prompted to enter a 4- digit code within 10 seconds, to confirm your safety.

If the situation turns for the worse and you need help, release your thumb, but do not type in your pin. The will alert the 24/7 call center there is a problem, in which Safe Trek will contact you by phone or text to confirm you are safe; if they don't receive a response from you, they will take immediate action to notify your local police with the use GPS of your location, name, and emergency.

"We're right here on our phones, 'alright let me hold this down to alert 911, its easier than running a 100, 200 yards across campus to press the blue light - I think its an excellent idea," said Shawn Smith, a sophomore at CCU. 

The four students that designed the app said many times college students will do some type of activity with their phones, like pretending to make a phone call or talking to someone, if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable, they said the app is just a real indiscreet way to assure they are safe.

Some CCU students WMBF News spoke to said knowing there is an app at their fingertips to make then feel safer is added peace of mind.

"Especially during exam week, cause you're in the library until like 3 o'clock in the morning and you decide to walk back a lot of times is not safe," said Hutcherson. 

The app is $1.99 a month and is available for Apple and Android smartphones. For more on how the Safe Trek app works click here.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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