New iPhone app iWitness is now on the scene to help anyone in any situation feel safer at the click of a button. Here’s how it works: A person who feels that they are being followed, stalked or in a dangerous situation can click the app, and it will record sound and visuals every three seconds, i.e. what the witness sees, and transmit that data to a secure center where law enforcement can access it.
Additionally, the app includes a bright flashing light, a loud alarm, a 911 quick-call button, real-time tracking of location via GPS, alerts to friends and family, and more. There’s a video filled with ominous subway and parking-garage shots and stalkers and frightened old ladies to show how it works here.
The Seattle-based personal security tech company is marketing the product with an eye toward “women, students, night shift workers, the elderly, and many others who may feel unsafe at times.” The app costs $3.99 per month, or the “cost of one latte,” CEO Greg Heuss says, and will soon be available for Android users, too.
We wrote about iWitness three months ago when it emerged on the scene with $600,000 in startup cash. Heuss, a former Amazon.com, EyeAlike and PerfectMatch employee, told us at the time:
“It is tough for males to really understand the fear that exists out there with women. My wife, for example, calls me every night for those 30 seconds she is walking across the parking lot to her car from her office — just so people know she is talking to someone. Gals in our office actually dial 911 on their phone and walk to the bus stop with their finger on the call button until they safely get on the bus.”
That said, there are some questionable aspects about reaching for your smartphone if danger lurks, or calling unnecessary attention to yourself with your device. Many cities, include New York City and San Francisco, have experienced an uptick in petty crimes due to people being on their cell phones and generally unaware of their surroundings.
This recent article in the San Francisco Examiner reports that excessive use of cell phones in public makes people “sitting ducks for robbery.” As with everything, being aware and alert of your surroundings is crucial to staying safe at any time.