Smart phones turned defense mechanism: safety just one tap away - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Smart phones turned defense mechanism: safety just one tap away

Hannah Nussbaum (Source: WAVE 3 News) Hannah Nussbaum (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kenneth Brown (Source: WAVE 3 News) Kenneth Brown (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Sharon LaRue (Source: WAVE 3 News) Sharon LaRue (Source: WAVE 3 News)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - From an early age, many people are often taught help is just a phone call away. Thanks to ever developing technology, however, smart phone apps have made getting help as simple as tapping the screen of a smart phone. Now area college students are turning to technology to help keep safe.

From sharing selfies to hailing a ride, college students like University of Louisville sophomore Hannah Nussbaum use smart phone apps for everything from entertainment to education, and now, safety.

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"I think my family's more worried about me than I am," said Nussbaum while chuckling.

No stranger to Louisville, Nussbaum is a 22-year-old transfer student familiar with the University of Louisville Belknap campus.

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"This is a target area just because there are students here who are a bit more naive," began Nussbaum, "and so as a result there's a lot of robbing."

To better her safety, the pre-business major has schooled herself on campus resources.

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"I've used the police escort," said Nussbaum.

UofL Assistant Police Chief Kenneth Brown said the University Police escort is one of several safety related services that students, like Nussbaum, can access through the institution's CardSafety app.

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"It's a free download," said Brown.

The complimentary directory features lists of emergency agencies and response guides.

"What to do for fire, explosions, earthquake, criminal activity, civil disturbance, chemical spill, bomb threat, even active shooter," said Brown. "It's instant information right at your fingertips. So, if you encounter an emergency or you want to check on something, you have all the information within seconds."

When time is of the essence and looking up help is not an option, Nussbaum said she turns to her Circle of 6 app.

"If I'm in trouble I just press this middle button," said Nussbaum while demonstrating how to use the app on her smart phone.

With just one tap, she alerted six different sources of help at once; all real people reached directly in real time.

"I can pick whoever I want in my contacts list," said Nussbaum. "Without having to call someone or text someone, with just pressing one button you can send them all, six people a message that says I need to be called right now, pretend like you're in an emergency or you can tell them I'm in need of immediate assistance and it'll send them my exact GPS location from this spot."

It's technology Nussbaum said all students can benefit from--one she wishes she would have known about sooner.

"They tell you that it's more likely to happen from a friend or someone you know and it was one of those situations," began Nussbaum. "There was drinking involved and I ended up being taken advantage by multiple of them."

Through her participation in the UofL Prevention, Education and Advocacy on Campus and in the Community (PEACC) program, Nussbaum transformed her experience into a mission to better protect herself and others.

"We do about 90 presentations in about 60 days of just going to all those early adopters," began Sharon LaRue, the PEACC director, "those students that are just coming in."

According to LaRue, students newest on campus are most at risk in the beginning.

"One of the things we've been advertising is the Circle of 6 app," said LaRue. "We really try to get the message out in that Red Zone which is like the first six to eight weeks of school because it's a high risk time for especially sexually assault."

In addition to pushing the use of smart phones as defense mechanisms, PEACC members also empower students to speak up and speak out.

"We have our own PEACC app," said LaRue. "They're not going to go out without their phone, right? So, that's the thing that really works well."

"It really has become vital to me to be able to give back and help other people," said Nussbaum.

While Nussbaum has been empowering others by sharing ways to keep safe, she has also been restoring her own sense of security in the process.

Circle of 6 is just one of many smart phone safety apps that can immediately connect users with multiple sources of personalized help. Others, like bSafe use GPS to track users in real time as they travel, either updating the user's contacts when he or she arrives at a programmed destination or triggering an alarm and video recording for a failure to check-in on time.

Below are other popular apps along with a description as profiled by USA Today:

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