In the event of an attack, new smartphone applications can be used to send an alarm to a pre-chosen person. And the potential victims location can then be tracked.
But is this faster and more secure than a woman whipping out pepper spray and blasting a drunken buffoon who has her cornered in a parking garage at night?
Apps meant for personal security are simply one layer of protection but in no way should be relied upon for personal protection. I mean, come on!!!! IT'S AN APP!!!!!!!
For the iPhone and Android, one such app is called STOP-ATTACK. This can be programmed to call 9-1-1. Once this app is activated it will record video and audio that gets sent to a cloud. This way, you'll have evidence of who was on top of whom or if someone really did reach into their pocket and pull out a metallic-looking object.
The threatening person won't even know he's being recorded. STOP-ATTACK also has an alarm and light that, once triggered, might scare off the perpetrator. It can be activated without actually logging into your phone if your device normally requires a security code. You get all this for $3.99 per year.
Will STOP-ATTACK actually stop an attack? NO. The name is misleading.
Others are out there (e.g., StaySafe, Circle of 6, Panic and Guardly), but the bottom line is that there's really no reason not to have one-even if you're a big brute. Women concerned about assault represent one slice of the pie. Muggings over smartphones are getting more common, and often, victims are men.
Like with the can of mace, the potential victim needs to be prepared to handle the smartphone's security feature very quickly, even slyly, before the perpetrator can grab it-whether he just wants the phone or wants to commit assault. So if the phone is in a woman's purse while she's walking around town alone past midnight, it does no good.
Nevertheless, an application like this adds a layer of security to the user. The user needs to insert some human factor into the equation when a threat arises. If a woman senses danger, and she must dig into the deep crevasses of her purse to locate her smartphone...she could have already bolted from danger or leveled a right hook into the would-be assailant's temple. A trained woman can debilitate an attacker with proper training. But please, DO NOT rely on an app to protect you.