My Panda: New app gives users security alerts

World Today

My Panda New app gives users security alerts

Recent attacks in France, Germany and the United States have put security services around the world on high alert.

But now, an app has been developed to try to keep its users safe.

It’s called My Panda and the hope is that technology can play a critical role in times of crisis.

CCTV America’s William Denselow reports from New York.

Follow William Denselow on Twitter @willdenze

My Panda: New app gives users security alerts

My Panda is a new security app that aims to keep its users safe by using crowd-sourcing to send alerts. CCTV America's William Denselow reports from New York.

Over 300,000 people pass through New York’s Times Square every day. Police said there are no credible terror threats to the city, yet a substantial security presence remains. But security forces can’t be everywhere.

That’s why Ludovic Rostini, men’s retail director, uses My Panda. After a series of deadly attacks in his native France, Rostini downloaded the phone application.

Rostini moved to New York three months ago and still uses the app for security. “The thing I just love with this app is there is just a big panda in the middle of the screen,” Rostini said. “You feel safe because it’s a big thing.”

The app uses crowd-sourcing in a bid to keep its users safe. With the press of a button, My Panda lets you report a danger or suspicious activity in your area. And in an emergency, it calculates the route to your closest police station.

And why a panda? The app’s developers said it represents safety and comfort.

Jordanna Devich is the director for business development at My Panda. She said the app’s French founder was inspired to create it directly after 130 people were killed in an attack on Paris last November.

And while security experts said people will get out their phones in times of emergency, it’s not always for the right reasons.

Adam Scott Wandt is a public policy professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“When people see emergencies, they take out their phones and start taking videos of it rather than calling for help, rather than calling for 911,” Wandt said. “And as a public safety professional, I can’t stress enough how dangerous that habit is.”