New safety app lets virtual companion walk you home - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

New safety app lets virtual companion walk you home

A rash of brazen armed robberies has many people in New Orleans worried about their safety.

But, tens of thousands of people across the world are now using a new app that may offer some protection. 

"If they're not using it, they need to know about it now, it looks like it could be such a good app for people to use for safety purposes," Tulane University social media expert Ashley Nelson said. 

It’s called the Companion App and this is how it works: You can have a virtual companion walk you home like your friends or family. But, that companion doesn't have to have the app downloaded, they can simply be someone from your contact list. 

The app is GPS-based, so it shows you and your companion your ETA and location. That location, though, is anonymous to anyone else, unless you need to alert the police. 

As you walk home you can hit a "I feel nervous," button to anonymously report areas that make you feel unsafe or even the "call police" button if you are in trouble. 

And, that's not all, says one of the five founders of the app who were college students at the University of Michigan when they came up with the idea.

"If you're running, if you go in the wrong direction, fall, or if your headphones get yanked out of the jack you will be alerted and it will say, 'are you OK?' And, if you don't answer that within 15 seconds your companions are going to be alerted to check in on you. And at that point, if you're still not okay, your phone will go into alert mode. It will blare out a siren to kind of act as a deterrent to an attacker or animal," Companion App creator Jake Wayne said. 

We talked with Tulane students who say they would definitely use it.

"Especially going to school in New Orleans where there is instances of violence, robberies happening all the time," Tulane student Jason Krueger said. 

The Companion App founder also tells us they're testing the app at a number of college campuses across the country, where it has become popular. But, it's also taking off with people of all ages across the world. If you're interested, the app is free and available in both the Apple app store and Google Play. 
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