Although overall crime rates have continued their steady decline in the U.S., the rates of violent victimization increased last year, from 22.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons in 2011 to 26.1 victimizations per 1,000 in 2012.
Not surprisingly, some people, especially women, rightly continue to be concerned about their personal safety in public.
One North Carolina woman, CJ Scarlet, is trying to do something about that by creating a wearable device that gives potential victims a fighting chance if accosted.
The device, dubbed the Tiger Eye Security Sensor (TESS), alerts authorities, records video and audio, and transmits a victim’s location in an emergency situation. It’s something like On-Star – the vehicle safety and information system – but for your body.
Image used with permission
According to a description about TESS ™ provided on the fund-raising site, Indiegogo:
The Tiger Eye Security Sensor™ (TESS™) is a hands-free, voice-activated, wearable sensor designed to help deter crime and violence. With this ingenious, inconspicuous sensor, help is just one word away. If you cry out, saying words like “help,” “stop,” or “no” during a situation where you feel threatened, TESS™ actually detects the stress in your voice and activates itself. If you say “help” again when prompted, or manually activate the device, TESS™ will immediately call police to your GPS location. At the same time, the device will begin video recording events and will loudly announce to the criminal that the police are on the way and to LEAVE NOW! This alone might scare the criminal into fleeing without completing his crime. The video feed, stored in the cloud, can be used later to identify and prosecute criminals.
Sounds like an interesting concept. Below is a promotional video that provides more detail, and shows how the device might work in actual practice.
TESS ™ video for Indiegogo campaign
Keep in mind, though, that this is yet undeveloped technology at this point, and the final product that emerges from the Indiegogo campaign (if it’s fully funded) may be different than depicted here.
It’s also important to remember that the vast majority of assaults against women are not perpetrated by strangers, but by family members, partners, friends, acquaintances, and others known to the victim. So, never let any technology lull you into a false sense of security.
As a general rule, I’m skeptical of technologies that oversell their abilities to reduce crime and protect victims, but with the right approach – including education, training, and hands-on practice – a device like TESS ™ might be a good addition to your personal safety plan.
Leave a comment below about this, or other crime-fighting technologies you’ve used or wanted to use.
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