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Smartphone apps that might outsmart the bad guys

Posted at 9:08 PM, Nov 05, 2014

What if your smartphone really could help you fight crime or protect your kids from predators or make you feel safer on your evening jog?

Well, there is an app for that. ABC15 put three to the test.


To realtor Jennifer Oldham, safety is top of mind, especially after the murder of an Arkansas Realtor in a vacant home.

"I would say several times a week I'm meeting a stranger at one of my listings," said Oldham. "This app called BSafewas one that I thought sounded like a good idea."

The app allows you to send an automatic alarm to friends and family with your exact GPS location, recording audio and video in case its needed in a police investigation.

Oldham showed us how it works -- and even though he was hard on her battery life, "it does make me feel safer," she said. "It even has a fake call button, so you could have your phone ring and it will seem like someone is calling to check on you."

Mama Bear

There are plenty of apps designed to keep your kids safe. We tested out Mamabear. We installed it on a personal phone (parent) and on a work phone (child).

The app tracks track your child's location with GPS and gives you arrival and departure alerts.

Within moments of arriving at the park we had set up as an alert, we got an message on our phone to say our child was there.

The app also lets you keep tabs on social media activity, notifying you when your child adds new contacts, so you can keep an eye out for predators or bullies.  In addition, it lets you know if your teenager is driving over the speed limit.

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Instead of asking your mom or friends to stay on the phone with you in a bad area or to check on you after your evening run, we tested out Kitestring.

You tell the app to check in with you in 5 minutes, and it will text to see if you are OK.  If you don't respond, it texts your emergency contacts that something may be wrong.

The message may concern your loved ones, but at least they would know to check on you.

What's different about Kitestring is that it is a mobile web app, so you don't need a smart phone to use it, just text messaging. It's easy to set up online.

More Safety Apps:

  • Watch Over Me has automated tracking so you can initiate tracking when worried about safety.
  • Circle of 6 sends your circle of friends a "come and get me message" with a map using GPS to show your precise location.
  • Guardly sends out sirens, alerts and has ability to send out photos to family and authorities.
  • Raksha says it will send out an alarm by pressing the volume key for three seconds.