This New App Will Make You Feel Safer On Your Walk Home At Night
Headlines about the tragedy surrounding the University of Virginia student who went missing on her drunken walk home generated sympathy– and outrage across the country last year. We felt horrible for the friends and family of Hannah Graham, we felt hatred for the man who was likely to have kidnapped her, but we especially felt scared– because her situation was no stranger to us.
Many of us get comfortable on our college campuses, and we also get comfortable with being drunk. It’s not uncommon for us to vanish during a party and call our BFF the next morning laughing about how we were so drunk we walked all the way from the bar to our booty call’s house in our stilettos. Most of us are lucky, our drunk disappearance is a laugh over brunch the next morning. But for Hannah Graham, it was the last drunk disappearance she’d ever have.
While Graham’s murder may have reminded us all that we need to stay safe late at night and use the buddy system, we can’t pretend that girls aren’t ever walking home alone in the wee hours of the morning. Whether it’s from a job, the library, or a busted house party, as women we’re unfortunately all at risk no matter where we are.
Five students at the University of Michigan have developed an app to combat this problem, and it’s called Campanion.
Campanion allows users to have their friends or family “virtually walk them home.” The user is able to send out multiple requests to different phone numbers to see who is “available” (or at their phone at the time), and their friends don’t necessarily have to download the app to accompany them.
Business Insider explains how:
Those contacted then receive an SMS text message with a hyperlink in it that sends them to a web page with an interactive map showing the user walking to their destination. If the user strays off their path, falls, is pushed, starts running, or has their headphones yanked out of their phone, the app detects these changes in movement and asks the user if they’re OK.
If the user is fine, they press a button on the app to confirm within 15 seconds. If they do not press the button, or a real emergency is occurring, the Companion app transforms the user’s phone into a personal alarm system that projects loud noises to scare criminals from the scene, and gives you the option to instantly call the police.
Although the app was originally created for campus users, there’s nothing stopping you from using the app at another location or for another purpose. The app is even available for use in other countries. Watch the video below to find out more: