Violence-torn Venezuela creates phone 'panic button'

January 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: Venezuela, China to launch satellite next year

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.

New computer virus targets Venezuelans after vote

October 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

June 9, 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

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

0 comments

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.