Contact KY3 Experiment: Do personal safety apps really work?

Published: Feb. 27, 2017 at 3:24 PM CST
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If it hasn't happened to you -- it's happened to someone you know.

Research shows one in six women have or will be attacked in their lifetime.

There are new apps that promise to protect you from danger. Contact KY3's Ashley Reynolds tested the technology so you can see if these devices really work when every second counts.

These apps are designed with one purpose -- to keep you safe in a dangerous situation. Nixa police and Christian County 911 agreed to take part in this experiment. Crews knew our testing day -- but did not know when we'd call or our location. Contact KY3 Intern Macy Marie helped us test the technology.

"Sometimes I like to go walking alone like after class I'll leave campus and go downtown. It's not always the safest environment. Mace you have to unclip it. You have to aim. You risk getting it in your own eyes. This I don't have to practice using ... I can just hit it," she said while holding the WearSafe device.

You can use it as a key chain or clip it on your clothes. Ashley pressed the WearSafe device and Marie got the alert. The alert shows Ashley's location and records audio.

"If you knew someone was following you or you were in danger you could describe them to me. So when I do call 911, I could say there's someone following Ashley in the park, here's what they look like," said Marie.

In just a few minutes, police arrived.

Ashley tested the Watch Over Me app in another location. The phone alerted her selected contacts. Police arrived at her location.

Finally, Ashley tested the free BSafe app. In our experiment, BSafe notified Macy the fastest compared to the other apps. It also records video when you press the alarm.

Police arrived each time in less than four minutes. All the apps require your friends to be on your network .. so they can call 911. This prevents false alarms.

911 operators had no problems with in-coming calls from an app.

"The apps whenever dialed came in just like a regular cell phone call that would have dialed 911," said Carrie Stephens with Christian County Emergency Services.

Remember, a small clip can't take down a bad guy. Still, police say these apps are great tool to sound the alarm when you need help.

"I think it's great. I think it's something that's going to be very beneficial for people. As it's embraced people become more comfortable with it and it will be more widely used," said Joe Campbell, with the Nixa Police Department.

A lot of these apps have added features, you can set an alarm for a fake call. They use up a lot of battery. They might not work in remote areas. You can always just dial 9-1-1, but depending the the situation a swipe or a click might be easier.