Being a retired Tampa Police Officer and a father of 3 teen daughters, I find a lot of value in the SafeTrek 911 app. But there is also a potential downside to this mobile security application. SafeTrek is a Lifestyle app created by a group of University of Missouri Columbia students back in 10/2013. The sole purpose of this simple iPhone and Android application is to automatically call 911 for you when you feel you’re in an unsafe situation that may require immediate 911 help.
SafeTrek 911 App Overview
Getting started with SafeTrek is super easy. If you have an iPhone, you will have to purchase the app for $1.99. However, if you have an Android you can download the app for free, but there is a small catch for you Android owners. Once you get the app on your selected mobile device, you will need to enter your profile information (name, telephone number, and create a pin number). Once you’re done with that, you are ready to put it into action when needed. But how do you use an automated 911 app? And how often do you call 911 to begin with?
SafeTrek iPhone Field Test
Mrs. CrazyMike found the SafeTrek app charting in the Top 10 Lifestyle category for the iPhone platform (#5). After reading the iOS reviews we determined the only way to validate the SafeTrek app was to “road test” it. Relying on my police experience, I decided to call the Pasco County Sheriffs Office, our local law enforcement agency, and explain what I was up to. After a quick explanation, I got the “green light” to call 911 using the SafeTrek app from our home. After entering my profile data I placed my finger on the big blue U-shaped button, then removed it.
As soon as I removed my finger a 10 second countdown initiated, where each countdown on the number pad appeared in red until all 10 seconds counted down. Once the countdown was complete, my iPhone automatically dialed 911. I reached the Pasco County Sheriffs Office 911 dispatch and was asked what my emergency was. If this had been a real 911 call, I would have immediately provided details, but being only a test I was able to chat with the 911 operator and get some feedback.
Until recently, getting an accurate 911 location for a wireless phone was not that easy. But with my iPhone, and possibly the SafeTrek app, the 911 operator was able to get my exact location from my 911 call while using this application. However, the 911 operator indicated that it was not the app, but more likely my T-Mobile iPhone 5 that provided my GEO location data for my 911 call. She also indicated that she had to re-process the call through Enhanced 911 Phase 2 to get the location information.
But let’s back up for a moment. The SafeTrek app did auto dial 911 successfully once I let go of the big blue button and let the 10 second countdown pass. That was impressive! As I mentioned before, being a retired cop and father of 3 teen daughters, I think this app has a lot of safety value. However, as a former police officer who answered a bunch of false 911 calls myself, this app has the potential to be a 911 nightmare with lots of possible false 911 calls. But if used properly, it may actually save a life and it’s hard to put a price tag on that.
SafeTrek Android Field Test
We decided to give the Android version a whirl after our successful iPhone test. Unfortunately, the Android version is not quite as automated. Everything worked the same, but when it comes to calling 911, Android users currently have to tap a button in their Android dialer to complete the call. This may be why the Android version is free and the iPhone version is not?
One other nice feature both versions of the SafeTrek app have is a follow-up text from the app itself for instances when you activate the automated 911 calling option. When we did the iPhone test, we got a follow-up text asking me if I was okay. Another text came in that required me to type the word “Safe” as a follow-up text message, or SafeTrek would notify police for me based on my GEO location, which the iOS and Android OS application would definitely be able to do as long as my GPS was enabled.
Overall Thoughts Of SafeTrek
Based on our testing, the app worked perfectly for both devices, albeit there is 1 extra step for Android users – still, this could be a life saver for any mobile user. For most people, 911 situations don’t happen everyday. That being said, when a 911 incident does happen to you, possibly an instance where your safety is in jeopardy, you may become disoriented, confused, etc. and may find it hard to concentrate on dialing 911 – this happened to a neighbor of ours. Access to a button that automatically makes the call for you is great, but “commonsense” use of this application is required for it to be successful, and for users not to get in trouble with the police for making false 911 calls.
As a former law enforcement officer, and now official app aficionado, I highly recommend the SafeTrek 911 app. However, I would rather see this app possibly free with ads, or at least at a $0.99 price point. But at the end of the day, $1.99 is a small price for peace of mind for your own safety and that of your loved ones.
Download The SafeTrek 911 App Now!
About The Developer
Safe Trek Mobile Security, LLC is made up of a group of University of Missouri Columbia students.