If you have a Windows Phone, however, you’re on your own…
A new app gaining steam in Minnesota is quickly garnering worldwide attention for a personal safety feature allowing friends to virtually walk you home at night.
The Companion app was created by five University of Michigan students after they worried about walking alone late at night.
So it works like this – If someone were to walk somewhere and not feel 100% safe, they can chose a ‘companion’ from their phone book who can track their movement on their way to their chosen destination. Upon arriving at said destination, the companion will be alerted.
But it gets more complex than that…
The app lets you contact your friends or the police, with one tap. If you start running, have your headphones pulled out or you drop your phone, the app will check up on you. If you don’t respond in 15 seconds, it will alert your companions.
Lexie Ernst said some of the most unique features include an option that alerts your friends if you are nervous, or another option that instantly calls police.
Companion will collect data to tell police where a greater presence is needed and hopes to uncover crime patterns that can be curbed. The founders have already partnered with the University of Michigan campus safety department so the app can alert university safety officials. Ernst said Companion hopes to expand partnerships with universities across the United States.
“People feel this issue, an uneasy walk home, feeling nervous at night, on a daily basis around the world, it’s so important to address it and to use technology to make the world a better place,” said Ernst.
“Yes definitely, I would use it,” said Kelly Murray, a University of Minnesota sophomore who used a campus safety escort service for the first time after a Gopher football game.
In Michigan, Lexie Ernst hopes the Companion app is a tool and safety net for anyone walking alone. She’s tracking growing interest from families with kids to those taking care of older generations.
“It tells us personal safety is an issue for everyone, all demographics. It doesn’t matter your age, your sex or where you are from,” said Ernst.