Missing En Route - App Sounds Alert on Violent Crime
A new mobile phone app has been launched that allows potential assault victims to easily send a distress message and their exact location to family, friends or others if they feel threatened in any way by unobtrusively pressing a panic button on their mobiles. Relatives and friends thus contacted can use their own version of SMSPanic to monitor and track the victims location and go to their rescue.
Launched by Australian company QuirkyApps, the SMSPanic app is designed to call on aid without arousing the suspicion of a nearby aggressor.
"When faced by a hostile situation a victim generally tries to avoid confrontational acts such as looking the aggressor in the eye or making any moves that could be seen as inflaming the situation," says Kym Rampal of QuirkyApps.
Not only does the victim downplay any response but so do fellow members of the public who are not directly threatened by the act of aggression as was shown recently by an incident in Melbourne Australia.
In the Melbourne case, a substitute bus carrying rail passengers on a late night trip exploded with scenes of racial hate. A lady of French origin was whiling the time by singing in her native tongue only to be soundly abused and physically threatened by some of her fellow passengers.
Apparently fellow passengers did not try to intervene or counter the aggression against the lady. However one passenger did surreptitiously record the events and posted them on Youtube. The recording can be seen on this YouTube web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzGD6McSuuc.
Non-intervention by people around the victim was also true here in the very own backyard town of Steubenville, Ohio where a young 16 year old girl was allegedly raped by two Steubenville football players. William McCafferty, the Steubenville police chief was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “The thing I found most disturbing about this is that there were other people around when this was going on. Nobody had the morals to say, ‘Hey, stop it, that isn’t right.’"
While the FBI stats for 2012 are not yet finalised, the FBI website, www.fbi.gov, reports that in 2011, an estimated 1,203,564 violent crimes occurred nationwide. That is more than 2 crimes every minute of everyday of the year. Off these more than 83,000 crimes were in the category of "forcible rape."
When asked in what situation using an App to call for aid would be preferred over calling 911 directly, Rampal said, "If the situation is such that making a call can be seen to inflame the situation, a hidden SOS cry can more effectively send help on the way. Rescuers are able to pinpoint the location of the victim by tracking the SOS."
To obtain SMSPanic, you can visit the QuirkyApps website, www.quirkyapps.com.au.