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New phone apps to protect you in vulnerable situations

HOUSTON – You’re out by yourself -- walking alone, jogging alone, shopping alone -- and that is when it can happen.

An attacker comes out of nowhere and is suddenly following you.

“I felt somebody grab me really hard on the shoulder from behind. Then he just stared at me with this evil look on his face,” said Catalina Humphrey, a 38-year-old mother and businesswoman.

Humphrey has lived the horror.

She was attacked in broad daylight, just weeks ago in Katy on a popular walking trail.

Fortunately, her dog, Hercules, was able to frighten the attacker off.

“I feel so much anger. I’m just really angry. I still feel it. I still see his face,” Humphrey said.

Now, with Catalina’s help, Channel 2 Investigates is testing out three brand-new smartphone apps that are all designed to protect you when you go out alone.

The first product is Wearsafe.

Using Peer-to-Peer safety technology, Wearsafe comes with a key fob that you fasten to your keychain and if you ever feel threatened by someone who is following you, you just push the panic button on the fob.

Suddenly, a whole network of your friends are alerted that you are in trouble and are given your GPS location so that they can call 911 for you.

In addition, by hitting the button you can record a voice announcement describing your attacker and making a plea for help.

We at Channel 2 Investigates hadCatalina try it and, yes, it works.

She recorded an audio message describing her attacker.

Seconds later, clear across town, one of Catalina’s friends, our producer Tera Roberson, got a blaring alert on her phone with Catalina’s voice describing her make-believe attacker.

Next up, it’s bSafe.

It’s an app that puts your personal safety in your own hands -- literally.

You carry your smartphone in your hand and if you feel threatened, you hit the button and an alarm sounds.

At this time, you can videotape your attacker, capturing him on camera.

That video is then sent to a whole network of your friends.

The alarm is meant to scare the attacker off and let him know he is being filmed for all to see.

But the app called Lifeline Response goes even further.

The app has a button on the screen, and you can walk with your finger on that button. If for any reason your finger falls off that button, you have 20 seconds to disarm the alarm or Lifeline Response will automatically call local police for you and report your exact location and a description of you.

Catalina and I tested it out.

Working with the Montgomery Police Department, we allowed Catalina to remove her finger from the button.

Even though the police had no idea where we were, an alert went out to the Lifeline Response Worldwide Security Center where security officials have been tracking Catalina’s exact location.

Lifeline Response contacts the Montgomery Police Department directly within seconds and the Police Department dispatches two patrol units to the exact spot where Catalina and I are waiting.

Lifeline says its typical response time is 19 seconds to contact local police, and it typically takes police about 1 minute, 10 seconds to arrive at the scene.

Lifeline Response says it has 4.2 million subscribers worldwide and has prevented at least 47 attacks over the last 9 months.