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“Please Help” app: crime prevention through technology

NZ Security, Aug/Sep 2017

Rotorua resident Paramdip Singh believes in crime prevention through technology, and he has developed a free phone app to prove it. The “Please Help” app is designed to provide a communication edge to people caught up in a security incident, allowing the user to send alert messages to their contacts at the push of a button.

Simple to use, the App is designed to operate on any Android phone, with a future IOS version planned.  Once downloaded from the Google Play store, an app icon loads onto the phone’s home screen, allowing for ease of access during an emergency. 

When the icon is pressed, it sends alert messages to a maximum of 30 people containing the user’s GPS coordinate location and the text “PLEASE HELP”.  Additionally, If the message recipient has also downloaded the App, they can hear be a specific ringtone to alert them that it is an emergency.

“We have also added a voice recording facility in this App, activated as soon as the App button is pressed,” states the “PLEASE HELP” Facebook page. “Voice recording starts immediately, but the message is sent with a 10-second delay. You still get 10 seconds to cancel the App if it's pressed by mistake.”

The app was formally launched in Rotorua on 11th July by Trade Minister and Member of Parliament for Rotorua Todd McClay and Chief executive of Chamber of commerce, Allison Lawton. A launch in Auckland followed on 13th July.

Ben Sandford, the Labour Party's candidate for Rotorua, posted on Facebook that he was “proud to be at the launch of the Please Help app, which offers to add another dimension to community safety within our city, for individuals and businesses alike.”

“While the police should always be your main point of contact in a crisis, as Paramdip mentioned tonight at the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce presentation, in times of chaos, having friends or family on hand can make the situation that much more bearable - and this fantastic Rotorua idea makes that bearable happen.”


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“This story is about how a business idea, technology and community values can come together to help solve a problem,” said Allison Lawton, CEO of the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce. “In this case, the idea came about against a backdrop of increasing crime in our retail stores, and the vulnerability many of these business owners feel as they go about building their businesses diligently and honestly.”

Allison comments that Mr Singh’s resolve was hardened when he experienced first-hand the trauma of a robbery when his friend’s liquor store was broken into.  “Rather than look to agencies to solve the issue, he took it upon himself to do something about it.  And he did - through using technology to prevent crime and the “Please Help” App was born.”

“I want to congratulate Paramdip for deciding not to be a spectator with this type of crime – but instead to do something about it,” she said.

“How much would you expect to pay for this App?  In this case, there is no cost.  This is a free App for anyone to use.  It has been designed for business owners, parents, elderly folk, children –in fact anyone who thinks this technology will help to keep them safe.”


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