'SafeTrek' app helps contact police for safety

One smartphone app can be found on college campuses nationwide.

In this age, we are so quick to hop in a stranger’s car for a ride. We use apps like Uber, we call a taxi or we walk alone – but have you ever felt unsafe?

“What most of us don’t realize is that 9-1-1 really doesn’t have your location when you call them. It takes them up to six minutes sometimes to get a 300-meter accuracy reading of where you are,” SafeTrek CEO Zach Winkler said.

Winkler said he founded this app three years ago, during his senior year at the University of Missouri. He saw a need for more safety precautions on campus and took action.

“So, the way that we work, we use all the latest and greatest technology, and we use call scenarios very similar to how your home security system works to get you help in a situation where you can’t talk or you don’t know where you are,” Winkler said.

There are 70 people in the call center through the app that help contact police, giving them your exact location in an emergency.

“Our number one real emergency is actually domestic violence,” Winkler said.

Winkler said anyone can use the app, but 95 percent of the million users are women.

“People are in those situations where they don’t want to escalate the situation, they just want help and they don’t want to make a commotion about it,” Winkler said.

One local college professor, Brian Brown, said even in our little corner of the world, safety is a priority.

“A problem that many students identify is the lack of lighting and feeling unsafe on campus,” Brown said.

Several students have told him their concerns in person and through college essays.

“I think part of the solution would be to not constantly be on your phone and actually have your eyes up and looking around for people that are around you, different situations that you should maybe avoid,” Brown said.

He said the more safety options for students, the better.

“If you are walking alone on campus at night, that might be the perfect time to have this app.”

If you want to download this app, the first month is free and then it costs about $3 a month.

(© 2017 KXVA)


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