While it is most likely you feel safe at home, that feeling may not extend too far from your front door. A recent Gallup poll shows that around four in 10 adults in the US say there is an area within a mile of where they live where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.
This applies even more to women. The poll shows that nearly half of all women, 45%, said they do not feel safe walking alone at night, along with 27% of men. Though substantial, this 18-percentage-point “safety gap” between the genders is in line with historical trends, and larger gulfs have been measured in the past.
Essential reading: Wearable devices that keep your children safe
Thankfully, there is an increasing number of wearables and gadgets that make it easy to call for help. Although we’ve had panic buttons for a while, its only recently though that they have become smaller, wearable and more discreet.
Some of these are predominantly marketed towards women, but others are unisex in design so could be used by men as well. After all, statistics show that victims of public crime are overwhelmingly young adult males although the lack of crime reporting makes it difficult to get accurate numbers.
Having one of these devices may give you more reassurance next time you are coming back from a late night out. While it may not protect you from an attack, it could potentially give you the ability to notify your friends and family at a touch of a button.
We’ve narrowed safety wearables down to a few of our favorites. While compiling this list, we’ve examined functions and features carefully and thoroughly. We try to test every device personally, but where not possible we took user reviews into consideration and dismissed devices with bad customer reviews and low ratings. This left us with the following selection.
Originally a crowdfunded project, Ripple is a panic button that comes with a 24/7 support team. Through the service, users have access to the company’s US-based professional monitoring team.
The little padlock looking device has a brooch-clip design which makes it easy to attach to clothing, keys or jewelry. Click the wearable or the app, and the user will immediately receive a call from the professional monitoring team to his or her smartphone.
Click once if you feel you are in an uncomfortable situation. This is used for anytime you just want someone there for you. If you feel you are in a serious emergency but can’t talk on the phone, click three times and the monitoring team will send first responders directly to your location. They will also relay all of your critical information to them on your behalf.
The penny-sized Bluetooth device is water resistant and never needs charging. The battery lasts six months, and when it expires, you will receive a new one for free.
By purchasing Ripple you’ll get a one year subscription to the professional monitoring team. Continued support will cost you $10 per month thereafter, but this is totally optional as you can opt to send alerts cost-free to friends and family instead.
Athena is a modern, elegant, and inconspicuous device about the the size of a US quarter. It comes in various colors including Timeless Black, Antique Silver, and Rose Gold.
The wearable has two modes – one for emergencies and another for discreet situations.
If you find yourself in a threatening situation, press and hold the button on the wearable for 3 seconds. Athena instantly emits a loud, deterring alarm and sends a text message to your loved ones with your location.
The discreet mode is for situations when you feel uncomfortable but not threatened. Tap the button 3 or more times to send a distress message to your contacts.
Athena can be worn as a necklace, clipped to your pocket or belt, or discreetly stored in your bag. A portion of each sale is donated by the company towards education on how to decrease violence.
Now better than ever, the Apple Watch has made it to this list. This is thanks to operating system updates which brought a number of new functions to the wearable device’s side button, including a new emergency SOS function that can call 911 and notify loved ones.
Apple’s SOS feature gives users a way to quickly dial emergency medical services in the area whether you’re local or traveling overseas. In some countries, you might need to choose the service that you need. For example, in China you can choose police, fire, or ambulance.
To make a call press and hold the side button on your watch until the Emergency SOS slider appears. Continue to hold down the side button. Wait for a countdown to begin and an alert to sound. You can also drag the Emergency SOS slider. When the countdown ends, your watch automatically calls emergency services.
After SOS is activated, your watch will display your current Medical ID, so that responders can instantly see important medical information like your height, weight, allergies, and the like.
The function allows you to designate up to three SOS contacts. After an emergency call ends, your Apple Watch alerts your SOS contacts with a text message (unless you choose to cancel). The text message contains your current location, and, for a period of time after you enter SOS mode, it will send your updates as your location changes.
You don’t necessarily need the latest version of the Apple Watch for this. Series 3 will perform just fine, plus its seen a fall in price due to the recent launch of the Series 4 device.
Nimb is a ring that puts personal security at your fingertips, keeping you safe at all times and connected in case of emergency.
At the heart of the system there’s a personal wearable device, the ring with a panic button. Press and hold the button — and the message with your GPS location is immediately and silently sent to friends and family, people nearby, police and emergency services or members of the Nimb community. You can do this with a touch of a thumb and don’t even need the other hand to be free.
Once the emergency alarm is activated, the device automatically starts recording audio which can be useful later on. The ring also protects against mobile phone loss, gently vibrating when your phone winds up too far away from you.
Its a simple idea – the world’s smallest personal panic button.
Sidekick puts peace of mind at your fingertips and is a quick way to reach a wide network when it matters most. With just the click of a button, your custom contact list is notified of your location.
The unisex device pairs with the free React Mobile safety app to alert your network using text/sms, email, Facebook, Twitter and 911. Sidekick will bypass your phone’s screen lock to send an alert even if your phone is out of reach.
The little gadget comes with both an activity clip for runners and athletes, and carabiner clip that is perfect to attach onto keychains, backpacks and purses.
Chic and elegant, Ivy can be worn as a necklace or bracelet. The IP65 water-resistant device is designed with handcrafted Cubic Zirconia stone set in a silver plated frame attached to a touch sensor and haptic vibration motor.
Ivy works on Bluetooth Low Energy and syncs with a smartphone app. Tap two times and your phone will emit a loud alarm to scare away attackers. Tap three times and your phone will send your location and audio recording to friends and family via SMS. Tap four times and your phone will call the selected guardian.
In our testing of the device, we found that it worked as advertised. Not just for women, we can envisage Ivy functioning as an inexpensive SOS button for the elderly as well. The company is currently working on other devices for men and kids to be launched soon.
Revolar is less about fancy looks and more about protecting you and your loved ones. The unisex gadget sends an SMS (with your location and a customized message), by connecting to the accompanying smartphone app through Bluetooth. You can choose up to 5 friends and family members as your contacts, and you’ll never pay a monthly fee to alert them. Plus, the device will work all over the world — anywhere your smartphone has cell coverage or WiFi.
There are three types of alerts you can send. One press indicates a ‘Check-in’, two presses a ‘Yellow Alert’ and three or more pressed a ‘Red Alert’. That means your safety network will instantly know where you are and the seriousness of the situation. Also, it’s easy to customize which of your contacts receives each of these types of communications.
Revolar can be clipped discretely under your clothing or you can choose to attach it to your keychain. It stays powered for up to a year on a simple, easy-to-replace battery. So far, the little gadget has been receiving some pretty good reviews on Amazon.
This one is a bit different. Designed to be a non-violent form of self-defense, this innocent looking device has a nasty surprise in store for any potential attacker. It emits a stink to repel them!
How it works is simple. If you feel you are in danger, unlock the small safety clasp and yank hard on the leather strap. This breaks the canister containing the company’s stink solution. The two-step activation system is in place to ensure the device is not activated by accident. The idea is that the foul odor emitted by the bracelet will distract and demotivate the attacker!
A number of Garmin watches now offer something called “Assistance and Incident Detection“. This includes the new Forerunner 45/45S, Forerunner 245/245 Music, Forerunner 945. It can also be found on the slightly older vívoactive 3 Music, Forerunner 645 Music and Fenix 5 Plus.
The first is a supplemental feature that kicks in automatically when an incident is detected. It sends an SMS and email with your name and GPS location to pre-loaded chosen contacts. The watch uses your paired compatible smartphone to do this. Once activated it starts a 30 second countdown giving you a chance to cancel it before sending messages.
The Assistance option does the exact same thing, the only difference being that you need to activate it manually. Its use is therefore wider than for walking, running, hiking or cycling. Whenever you feel in danger, simply activate Assistance and a message with your location will go out.
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