TapShield, an app for iOS and Android devices which allows users see crowdsourced crime stats and quickly contact emergency services in the US, is now available to the public following its initial launch on select university campuses.
The app allows users to view real-time crime stats and report incidents to authorities along with their exact GPS co-ordinates and profile information at the touch of a button.
And why not just call the emergency services? Well, TapShield says users receive help from”emergency responders” (campus police and security, primarily) up to 47 percent faster than calling 911 or using an emergency blue-light phone.
Now that the service is being offered outside of campuses, there is a slight difference in the way it works. If it’s used within the boundaries of a TapShield organization (most likely still a university at this stage), users can submit crime tips to other people and the organization’s authorities – or summon emergency help from campus security. If you’re outside the zone of a TapShield organization, crime tips are still displayed but pressing the alert button simply dials 911.
The app also includes a ‘Yank’ feature aimed at joggers which will can be set to send an alert whenever headphones are forcibly pulled from the device.
If your situation is less of an emergency, users can still submit GPS-tagged tips to local police either anonymously or along with personal details.
Rounding off the list of core features (all of which are free to individual users) is the option to summon a virtual entourage for your late-night journey home by sending your route along with an ETA to friends or family.
The service nor the app are entirely new, but it is the first time that either have been available to the general US public. It first launched last year on the University of Florida campus. It has since soft-launched a few days ago and the feedback so far seems good, Jordan Johnson, CEO of TapShield, told TNW. He added that involving the user base from the start of the journey helped to shape its progress to this point.
“What we’re hearing from students on the colleges and universities we target is this is the app economy, this is all about adoption – there are some really good apps out there, but they are not being adopted by their intended audience,” Johnson said. “This is what we’ve capitalized on. We resonate with the college demographic. Clean, uncluttered, map-based… This has been designed from the ground up with direct input from these guys.”
Whether or not TapShield can extend that campus crowdsourced safety spirit to the general public is another question, but with today’s launch, it’s certainly trying.
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