Companion app protects runners, walkers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Companion app protects runners, walkers

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Companion app helps the user when they are walking home alone. (WFSB) Companion app helps the user when they are walking home alone. (WFSB)

A new app is using GPS technology to allow users to never walk alone again.

Personal safety should always be a top priority when you're out and about alone. And a new app called Companion is adding a little extra security. Through the GPS on your phone, users can ask a friend to virtually walk with them.

“I think it is pretty convenient if you feel lost, or kind of afraid like someone who knows where you are,” Madison Mullen, of Manchester, said.

User tells Companion the action they are doing and where they are headed.  If the user feels nervous, they simply hit a button on the app alerting their contact that they are uncomfortable.

If the user finds themselves in a more serious situation, the individual can simply hit another button that call the police.

“If the trip was delayed, and suddenly there was a burst of running or the headphones were yanked out, it would notify the person who was monitoring your trip,” South Windsor Police Deputy Chief Scott Custer said.

But some people Eyewitness News talked to were uneasy with apps that tap into your personal information.

“I just think it's invasive. I don't like apps that follow where you go,” Kim Kenyon, of Griswold, said.

Custer said he thinks the app is a great idea, but said the tried and true personal safety practices are still your best bet.

“Don't rely solely on this app, for your personal protection,” Custer said.  

Custer said that the number one rule is to be alert and aware of your surroundings. When you can walk with a friend, there's safety in numbers.

Custer added that people should carry something that makes noise such as a whistle. People also might consider carrying pepper spray.

If you're at a mall and feel uncomfortable about walking in a parking lot, you can ask for an escort to your car.

“It's probably a good addition, it's a good peace of mind. It's probably a good reminder and as the technology evolves there's probably going to be extra features,” Custer said.  

Companion is also a great way to check in on younger kids if they are walking somewhere.

Parents can watch their children walk to and from school or take a walk without the worry.

To download the app, click here

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