Feeling unsafe alone? There's an app for that

Boy fleeing room illustration
(The Kansas City Star 2011/Tribune News Service)

When you’re with friends, it’s common to look out for each other’s well being. You text when you get home safely, or you stay in groups.

But who watches your back when you’re alone? If you have a smartphone, you can easily download a few apps to increase your safety.

bSafe (available for iOS and Android): This app allows you to set up a network of people who can view your GPS location, verifying when you safely reach your destination. Other features of the app include fake calls that can make your phone ring when you need it to and an alarm button that will notify your chosen network when you need help. This app is free.

OnWatch (available for iOS and Android): With just two taps, this app will let the user call 911 and alert friends of an emergency. Best of all, you can set a timer when you feel you’re in an unsafe situation. If you don’t enter the code before the timer goes off, the app will automatically alert police. The app is free to download but requires some in-app purchases, such as a yearly subscription for $9.99.

Guardly (available for iOS and Android): This app has a feature that allows you to call 911 without even unlocking your phone. Once an emergency call is placed, your location is automatically tracked, and an alert can be sent to a pre-selected group. The app is free to download and has the optional monthly cost of $1.99 for access to premium services.

Circle of 6 (available for iOS and Android): Winner of The White House Apps Against Abuse challenge, this app lets the user create a circle of trusted friends who can easily and discreetly be alerted of an emergency. It also offers 24-hour connection to safety hotlines. This app and all of its features are completely free.

If you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, one of these apps may be able to help you.