Violence-torn Venezuela creates phone 'panic button'

Jan 19, 2014
People use smartphones in Caracas, April 27, 2010

A free app for certain smartphones that works as a "panic button" in emergencies has launched in Venezuela, one of the world's most violent countries, a lawmaker said Saturday.

The "pocket police" app "allows people to notify their families in real-time of emergencies, without collapsing the Venezuelan security system," explained Ricardo Sanchez, a member of the National Assembly's Domestic Policy Committee.

"You can add up to three contacts, with emails and phone numbers, who will receive the message with your geo-referenced location in case of an emergency," he said.

According to the lawmaker, sending the message—a text or email—just requires touching a button on screen.

It could also help police in kidnapping and murder cases, he said, since the information "can help provide details on the last location of the person."

The application, which was developed by Sanchez along with a team of computer experts from two Venezuela universities—is only available on Blackberry devices currently.

Sanchez said he hopes to make improvements based on suggestions from the Venezuela science and technology ministry and local municipalities.

Venezuela's homicide rate according to NGOs is 79 per 100,000 people, the highest in the world—though the government figure is lower, at 39 per 100,000.

In 2013, the Venezuelan Violence Monitor NGO counted more than 24,000 deaths.

Explore further: Kickstarter project SnapJet hardware device lets you print your smartphone pic as Polaroid

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Venezuela, China to launch satellite next year

May 27, 2011

Venezuela and China will develop an observation satellite to be built in Asia and launched from South America in 2012, according to Venezuela's science and technology minister.

H1N1 flu cases up sharply in Venezuela

Jun 12, 2013

The number of H1N1 swine flu cases rose sharply in Venezuela during the last week of May, the health ministry said Wednesday, refusing to disclose whether any deaths have been linked to the outbreak.

New computer virus targets Venezuelans after vote

Oct 12, 2012

(AP)—A newly detected computer virus aims to steal Venezuelans' online credentials using a link that purports to reveal information about the country's recent presidential election, the digital security company Kaspersky ...

New app helping Venezuelans find scarce items

Jun 09, 2013

Harried Venezuelans who devote hours scouring supermarkets for increasingly scarce food basics and toilet paper have just received some digital help thanks to a young software developer.

Recommended for you

Form Devices team designs Point as a house sitter

Nov 22, 2014

A Scandinavian team "with an international outlook" and good eye for electronics, software and design aims to reach success with what they characterize as "a softer take" on home security. Their device is ...

Amazon offers Washington Post app on Kindle

Nov 20, 2014

Amazon said Thursday it will offer a free Washington Post app to Kindle users for six months, a move highlighting the digital strategy for the newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos.

Gift Guide: Help your selfie with some add-on gear

Nov 20, 2014

Not all selfies are created equal. Some are blurry, are poorly framed or miss the action entirely because you might be scrubbing your thumb fishing for a virtual shutter button as the moment passes you by.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.