With crimes against women on the rise, one can never be too safe on the streets. Keeping your keys and pepper spray handy is one of the basic methods of arming yourself, but now, women have a new ally in the fight against assault — the ubiquitous smartphone. There has been a recent surge in smartphone apps aimed at aiding women in trouble. We check out a few.

VithU

If in danger, press the power button of your smartphone twice. The app then sends messages every two minutes to your designated guardian contacts. The text reads, “I am in danger. I need help. Please follow my location.”

The receiver is sent a link to your location every two minutes giving them your updated location. The app also has a Tips Feed function that provides you with safety tips in an emergency.

YATRAMiTR

This is a safety as well as an auto fare calculator app. This app’s security options let your location be viewed through a browser and keep constant track of your path, sending the information to numbers saved in the app’s contact list. Pressing the Panic Button sends your current location to your designated contacts with a message stating that you are in danger. Some of the features of the fare calculator can also be used with regard to safety. Since the app displays the correct route from the source to the destination, you can figure out if the auto driver is taking you for a ride, literally. The app also displays nearby police stations, bus stations, railway stations, hotels and hospitals, so you always know where to turn to for help.

Nirbhaya: Be Fearless

This app, apart from the mandatory distress message to designated contacts, lets you configure Geo Fences and inform those contacts of your entry and exit from them. You can Stamp an area as unsafe on a Heat Map if needed, so that other users get an alert any time they enter it. The Heat Map is a good way of demarcating safe and unsafe areas, and should be checked out when visiting an unfamiliar location.

In case of emergencies, you can simply shake your phone, even if it is locked, to send a distress message.

iFollow

This Nasscom AppFame Award winner also lets you shake your phone to signify distress. Shaking the device three times within five seconds will call your first emergency contact. If there is no response, iFollow will text your location to all the three designated contacts. After the first message, it will send an SOS text with new location details every 10 m.

bSafe

The app lets you set up a social personal safety network where you can use Follow Me’s GPS trace and let a friend walk you home, use I’m Here to let someone know where you are, Fake Call to, well, receive one, Timer Mode to trigger an alarm if you fail to check in on time, and Guardian Alert to notify your emergency contacts of your location in case of trouble. The app will also record a 10-second video of the untoward incident and let off a siren.

Honourable mentions

Hollaback!, spotNsave Feel Secure, Women’s Safety App, FightBack, SafetiPin, Scream Alarm, Save My Soul and Damini.

(Zara Khan is a staff writer for MetroPlus Melange)