ABC News 6 On Your Side Reports
By Kurt Ludlow
COLUMBUS, OHIO — A growing number of people are buying and using personal safety devices.
Georgia Agganis owns the Oats & Barley Market in the Short North. It opened six months ago and from the very beginning, Agganis wanted safety to be a priority.
“We have the cameras. We have the alarm system. We also took it a step further because we do believe in our safety, for us and for our employees, that we did, pay extra to get (a wearable panic button),” said Agganis.
If Agganis or an employee touches it, the police will automatically be sent to the store.
The V.ALRT is a $39 button. You can put it on your wrist, wear it as a pendant, or attach it to your key chain. It connects wirelessly to your phone. In an emergency you can have it call, text, and send your GPS location to as many as three people.
For $99, the ATHENA does the same thing. You can attach it to your bag, wear it as a necklace, or put it around your waist.
There are other panic buttons that don’t actually look like buttons: they look like jewelry, sometimes high-end jewelry. There are jeweled pendants, even rings.
There are also a number of safety apps, like one called EmergenSee.
According to a video on the EmergenSee website, “EmergenSee instantly transmits streaming live video, live audio, pinpoints your exact location on a GEO map. GPS tracking engages and all of this is sent to your emergency contacts and responders.”
Agganis isn’t just a business owner. She’s also a mom, and uses technology to keep tabs on her three children.
“On all of our electronic devices we have the app called Find My iPhone. And so if I wanna track my kids I just hit that button and I see where they are,” she said.
She loves the safety technology and says for the most part, it does make her feel safe. However, “There’s always that fear in the back of your head but you have to be conscious and aware, always look around, and pay attention to your surroundings,” she said.
Obviously this technology is not going to prevent an attack. The devices and apps are meant to be used if you believe you’re in danger.