Local Leaders

Bucking the Trends – WanderSafe: Staying Safe While You Wander

Nina Gbor4 September 2018
Stephanie Rodriguez, Founder of WanderSafe. Photo: Twitter.

Stephenie Rodriguez, Founder of WanderSafe. Photo: Twitter.

We’re used to apps that recommend the best hotels, restaurants and entertainment. However, very few apps have peer-to-peer, real-time information about the safety metrics of a place. Armed with this holistic information before you visit a place can not only equate to a great experience, but it can also save your life. Literally. The terrible circumstances that befell the woman who was found raped and murdered in Melbourne not too long ago is evidence enough for the need for this sort of technology.

That’s where WanderSafe comes in.

WanderSafe is the real-time, location-based safety advice solution that gives you all the information you need to stay safe while you wander.

Having travelled to 53 countries, Stephenie Rodriguez, founder of WanderSafe realised there were big gaps in information for travellers. While planning a trip to Geneva, she found a hotel on an app that had high scores for things like cleanliness and a strong WiFi connection. What the app failed to mention, however, was that the hotel was in a rough neighbourhood where Stephanie didn’t feel safe enough to venture out of the hotel even in broad daylight. The lightbulb moment that inspired the creation of WanderSafe came from a conversation she had with retired CIA Security Executive, Thomas Pecora. He said three things can keep a person safe: environment, information and equipment. WanderSafe was created to incorporate these three elements through the software app and a hardware device. WanderSafe has been adapted for use by everyone within their cities as well as for overseas travel.

The WanderSafe device is a small, discreet and non-violent device that looks unassuming. It has 4 features designed to disorient and scare an assailant, giving you enough time to save a life, deter an assault, rape or human trafficking incident from occurring. The features include:

  • easy access bright flashlight
  • clinically disorienting bright flashing strobe lights
  • 140-decibel sound alarm with sirens
  • an activation button that notifies your 3 emergency contacts with your location.

The app uses data collated from local law enforcement agencies, verified users and previously accumulated data. Where the community of verified users is concerned, it’s a ‘see something, say something’ system. 8 out of 10 assault incidents go unreported, therefore, verified users can report crimes and incidents that may not have been reported to law enforcement. Users can notify other travellers of hotspots of criminal activity, relevant safety and location information. Each area will have a scoring system primarily based on users’ feedback, but it’s a smart system which considers frequency, time of day and nature of the incident amongst other factors. Positive information is just as important as reported data, so users provide positive feedback on their experiences as well.

Like Siri, the WanderSafe artificial intelligence feature, JENI, makes sure you get all the necessary information in real-time. If an incident has just occurred or there’s traffic in an area of interest, you’ll be notified immediately.

Employers within various industries may have a duty of care towards the safety of their employees, particularly where they may be at risk. The Real Estate industry is a prime example. Agents visiting different areas within a region for meetings or inspections which often take place out of hours can put them at risk. Upon discovering WanderSafe, Vantage Strata Managing Director, Chris Miller said:

“It was immediately clear to me that WanderSafe had some obvious application for any employer who sends members of their team to meetings outside of the office. The Real Estate industry has been grappling with this challenge for a number of years, and the problem has been well publicized in the context of property managers, often young women, who attend routine inspections with people who are unknown to them. The same concern arises in the Strata Management industry, and is perhaps magnified, as Strata Managers routinely attend owners’ meetings held offsite inside an owner’s home, and almost always after hours. It is incumbent on the leaders of our industry to ensure the safety of our staff, and I see the WanderSafe program as being a critical part of the solution. All staff at Vantage Strata current and future will receive a WanderSafe device and training on personal safety”.

WanderSafe is on a mission to enable safety and freedom for everyone. They are running a crowdfunding campaign for the funding to make the app and device accessible to everyone. More information can be found on their website and social media portals below:


Original Article published by Nina Gbor on The RiotACT.

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