After a recent increase of attacks on the aging, law enforcement officials are urging older residents to carry a discreet non-violent personal safety device that can easily thwart an attack.
It was just a normal day at the grocery store for Ruth Miller, a 63-year-old woman from San Francisco, California… until everything went terribly wrong.
She had just left the store carrying her grocery bags and was walking to her car when the unthinkable happened.
“I wasn’t parked too far away, it was about a 60-second walk or so to my car from the store,” she remembers, “and I had that feeling I was being followed.“
Right as she was unlocking her car, a man quickly came up behind her and tried to grab her.
“He told me ‘don’t fight, give me your wallet!‘ as he tried to wrestle my purse away. I was in shock. I then remembered I had my Beacon Personal alarm in my pocket. As I was too scared to scream for help, I quickly reached for the Beacon and twisted the top to set off the alarm.“
“Immediately, my Beacon alarm started just screaming. I mean it was REALLY SCREAMING. This guy didn’t know what to do! He froze for a second, then ran away like a bat out of hell! People heard the alarm and started yelling and running over to help. They said it was the Beacon’s piercing siren that got their attention.”
While Ruth was lucky enough to be carrying the WanderSafe Beacon personal alarm, allowing her to escape her attacker unscathed, others weren’t so lucky…
In the month of March alone, police have reported a dramatic increase in attacks targeting seniors, with many suffering serious injuries and financial loss.
“This trend of targeting seniors is deeply disturbing, but it’s a harsh reality we have to deal with. It is absolutely imperative that our elderly residents stay on high alert and protect themselves by carrying a personal alarm.”
After her attack, Ruth bought the WanderSafe Beacons for her sisters, daughters, grandchildren and all of her friends. People often attach it to purses, keys and backpacks or just slip it into their pockets just to keep it close.
“After the attack, I immediately bought 10 WanderSafe Beacons for all of my friends and family. Now I know the people I care about most will be safe.”
What is it WanderSafe Solution?
The WanderSafe Beacon is a discreet, non-violent personal safety device capable of creating a 140db sound that attracts attention and scares away potential assailants. To compare, it’s louder than a military jet during takeoff.
The Beacon is also simple to use. Instead of having a pull-pin mechanism that requires two hands to activate, the Beacon is ergonomically designed with a ‘twist to activate’ alarm. Once in action, the device emits its ear-piercing sound for up to 30 continuous minutes, or until twisted back into it secure magnetic off position.
The Beacon is rechargable via the included lightning USB cable and reused over and over. (It has a one year warranty and designed to be durable for years) The WanderSafe Beacon has a convenient loop and easily attaches to purses, keys, and backpacks. About the size of a modern car key, the Beacon is also small enough to fit in your pocket. It packs a wallop and has more features than any other personal alarm product on the market.
The Beacon is a de-escalation tool and includes a blinding 1000 lumen flashlight, a fast pulse disorienting strobe light feature, and the WanderSafe Alert feature. This silent and powerful feature uses Bluetooth and requires no technical expertise to pair with a modern iPhone or Android phone. When the Beacon is synched with the free WanderSafe smartphone application, users can signal three of their loved ones in a single SOS pressing of right on the front of the Beacon.
Born Out of Tragedy
Stephenie Rodriguez, the inventor of WanderSafe, stands proudly at the podium during this year’s annual Crime Stoppers International conference at the prestigious Hague. She knows all too well the type of situation that Ruth found herself in. She hears it all the time. But that’s not the only type of situation that the WanderSafe helps protect against.
In fact, Stephenie knows all too well the experience of being a victim of a violent attack…
“I was working in the travel industry and was travelling extensively for business to 55 countries, and most of the time I would travel alone. I was fearless. But nothing prepared me for that morning in Geneva when I would get out of bed, throw on my running gear and got in the elevator to go for a quick run before work. I entered a dimly lit elevator, and there was a man, 6’5 ft reeking of alcohol. He pinned me against the elevator and propositioned me.”
“How much baby, or do I take from you?” He snarled in my face.
The next seconds felt like centuries. Finally, the elevator doors opened, and I twisted myself from his grip and dove out of the elevator and ran into the hotel lobby and kept running til I was outside. I caught my breath leaning against the cold cement bricks of the hotel in the cold Geneva morning air. I thanked God that I escaped, but that changed everything for me.
“I know I am not the only person who has ever been a victim,” Stephenie Rodriguez said to the packed conference room. “I want any of you who have ever felt fearful, and held your keys in your hand like brass knuckles to stand up.” In the room full of conference attendees at the Hague, every woman and a few senior men stood up. Gasps could be heard from those seated, almost unaware that this problem was as rife and profound.
“My story and yours are the reason why I created the WanderSafe safety solution – the free smartphone app and the Beacon.”
After Stephenie’s incident, she started researching the circumstances surrounding assault and violent crimes against vulnerable people. She spoke to law enforcement officers through the CrimeStoppers Network, people at Stop the Traffick.org, and her colleagues in the OSAC.gov Women In Security Council. As the conversation continued she met retired CIA Counterterrorism expert and veteran officer Thomas Pecora, author of Guardian, the CIA’s War on Terror.
“The CIA teach that personal safety basics are first the ability to ‘fight with light’ and one of the most necessary tools is a flashlight. Smartphones have a torch feature, but most of them are too cumbersome with a locked screen to quickly access them when under stress and in a sticky situation where seconds count,” said Pecora.
The ability to distract a potential threat is also mission critical, so a strobe functionality is a fail-safe way to buy seconds where they matter most and why a strobe function is a MUST.”
The CIA also believe that the inability to scream under stress is a huge contributing factor towards the success of kidnappings and assaults as under great duress victims cannot make a noise,” Pecora says. “Losing the ability to scream is a bi-product of extreme terror.”
Hearing this statistic gave Stephenie the idea for the WanderSafe Beacon feature set.
“I set out to build the most practical, functional and powerful personal alarm that was completed non-violent and anyone can use,” Stephenie says. “To make it easy to hold and easy to use and as loud as possible.”
But, Ms Rodriguez is hoping for more than just an assault deterrent. She wants to help stop all kinds of crimes.
“It can be used fin so many different situations,” she says. “Parents can give it to their kids as an extra layer of protection. Teenagers can use it so they can feel safe walking home. Women can know it’s there when they have to use the parking garage at night. My mother, who is 76 years old, carries it around in case she falls and needs to alert people for help. I only wish I’d have thought of it earlier…”
Her voice trails off. It’s clear that all the women she met through her travels and their stories haunt her.
After Stephenie is done speaking, she is met by Neil from Stop the Traffick.org and Mike Jander from Digital Ally who want to collaborate and thank her for her innovation. But they have to get in line. It seems the WanderSafe Beacon and platform have inspired many.
Finally, after dozens of other people have had their turn to thank talk with Stephenie, Tracey Regimbal who was in the audience has a quiet word to her. Tracey explains how she was nearly raped by a taxi driver in Rome on her way to a new posting with the NATO Defence college. She narrowly escaped but related to the importance that every vulnerable person own a beacon and download the WanderSafe free app.
It’s a story Rodriguez hears almost every day—how her invention is so necessary and is able to help someone in need.
“But I never get tired of hearing it,” she says with a smile – it’s deeply satisfying to make something that can make a real difference.
Not just for the elderly…
The WanderSafe Beacon has been helping people across the country, and it’s more than just the elderly. Here are some of the people who are that much safer because of the WanderSafe solution:
- Women can use it as an assault deterrent, protecting themselves from attackers
- Kids are protected as they walk to school by keeping the Beacon on a keychain on their backpack
- Seniors can alert neighbors and people around them in emergency situations such as heart attacks, falls, and injuries using the WanderSafe SOS Silent Alert Feature and the voice-activated feature in the WanderSafe app
- Remote and lone workers can use WanderSafe and the beacon as a means of communicating with their employer if they are in peril, and de-escalating a potential threat to reduce company exposure to claims for assault while on the job. (We have seen a significant decline in incidents for companies such as real estate agents, strata and property managers, and community workers.)
Police have been recommending the WanderSafe Smart solution since it first hit the market, and the movement is beginning to pick up steam.
In fact, Since its debut, WanderSafe Beacons has been in a state of constant flux, shifting between IN STOCK to SOLD OUT nearly every other week…
And, it’s also amassed tons of loyal users worldwide…with companies like Booking.com, Revlon Haircare/American Crew and Deloitte purchasing beacons for their traveling staff as part of employer duty of care. Each day WanderSafe sees new users in more than 50 countries worldwide.
I wanted to get a professional’s opinion on the effectiveness of SafeSound, so I talked to Chief of Police James Bosworth. Here’s his take:
“The WanderSafe Beacon has single-handedly helped thousands of lives across the country. And, it’s needed now more than ever. Violent crime has risen drastically so far in 2019, particularly in the last month. But, after reviewing thousands of reports so far this year, I’ve noticed a positive trend. In cases where the WanderSafe Beacon is used, the victims are usually unharmed.”
– James Bosworth, Chief of Police
I wanted to see (and hear) the WanderSafe Beacon in action…
Luckily, Stephenie gave us a demonstration at the conference. First, she warned us and insisted we cover our ears. Then, she pulled twisted the top with a tine flick of her index and thumb just 15 degrees. It was such a quick and small move.
It was unbelievable. The Hague Conference room was big, and it felt like the noise was just filling up the entire area. It was easy to see how it stuns the attacker and attracts attention. It was simply the loudest thing I’ve ever experienced.
After a few seconds, Rodriguez relieved us by twisting the top of the beacon back into place, shutting off the noise and the annoying strobe light that the beacon emits.
When I spoke with Stephenie, she let me check out the WanderSafe Beacon for myself. I was impressed with the quality… it felt solid in my hand and I could tell it wasn’t something cheap that would break if dropped or anything like that. At 70gm it reminded me of the weight of my Audi car key with the same durability. The twist feature for the alarm was help with a strong magnet, but easy to twist into action when and if it was needed and turn it off just as fast without fumbling for a pin and needed two hands like other personal alarms that I had seen that were cheap and poorly designed.
Plus, the battery will last more than 27 days in the off/storage mode and the when active for well over an hour but re-chargable in just 20 minutes. I’d say that’s pretty good.
Stephenie hands me a pristine white WanderSafe Beacon beautifully packaged in a gorgeous box. It almost looked like an Apple product — as a gift, which I in turn gave to my mother, as she lives alone and needs to alert somebody if something happens.
How much does it cost? (And is it worth the price?)
The WanderSafe Beacon is currently sold online for USD 79.95. They offer further discounts if you buy in more than one, which I know many good parents will do.
While the WanderSafe Beacon was originally made to protect vulnerable travelers and commuters everywhere, massive orders are coming in from seniors everywhere, and it is quickly becoming the most popular gift idea in 2019.
As far as value, it is definitely worth the price. Knowing that my mom is safe in case of a fall, or that my daughter is equipped on the way home from school is a relief. The WanderSafe Beacon and app has given me peace of mind that you simply can’t put a price tag on.