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Worried About Your Safety? There’s A Useless App for That

While it’s easier to avoid doing stupid things with stupid people, sometimes life takes you to stupid places. Case in point: I’ll be spending a few days in gun free Chicago this week. Don’t worry, I have no illusions — I know there are tons o’ guns up there. It’s just that none of them will be on my waist. Not if I’m gonna stay legal. Not in America’s most dangerous big city. What could possibly go wrong, right? Thank God has news of a solution I can take with me on my iPhone . . .

“StreetSafe, a relatively new app for smartphones, claims that for a minimum of $12.50 a month, it will coach you with safety advice in frightening areas on your way to any location. One first feature is called “Walk With Me,” where the user can connect with a Safety Advisor while walking down a street.”

Wonder if any of StreetSafe’s sage advice includes directions to the nearest gun store. Or how to get a concealed carry license. Not that that would do me any damned good in the windy city. But with StreetSafe, if I get in any real trouble, I can press a button and someone will call 911 for me. Which is so much cooler than just dialing 911 myself.

StreetSafe, though, hasn’t been universally well-received.

This app has been causing a stir around the web — for example, Jezebel called its users “paranoid” and suggested that women make themselves more vulnerable to danger by being distracted on their phones.

I’m not sure about the paranoid thing, but I’m guessing StreetSafe probably won’t do much for your overall situational awareness. I’m thinking I’ll pass on paying $12.50 a month for this technological wonder and stick to carrying my heater. Religiously. Just not when I’m in Chicago.


  1. avatar jwm says:

    Here’s a suggestion for all the women that feel unsafe. Use your numbers to vote in constitutional carry nationwide and, you know, carry a gun. Vote in SYG’s and use your cell phone to call in the clean up crew after you’ve dealt with the problem.

    1. avatar JoshinGA says:

      In the tradition of Sam Colt, the easiest way for a woman to level the playing field is to tool up. Stop thinking like a victim and take responsibility for your own safety.

      Take if from Sheriff Chuck Wright: “It just struck me wrong that we keep telling everyone ‘trust us, trust us, trust us,’ but in reality, you need to protect yourself. If you are not a convicted felon or someone who causes trouble or don’t have any mental issues, buy a weapon to protect yourself and get some good training.”

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Here’s another suggestion:

      Hang up the (*&^&^% phone, put it in your purse, get your head up and start paying attention to your surroundings.

      This will also make you a better driver, a better pedestrian and whole lot less prone to injury as well as crime.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        I see women walking and jogging alone with earbuds in their head in the woods. They are completely oblivious to their surroundings. Not good.

        I’ve ridden my mountain bike up behind them and shouted warning I was passing just to have them jump when I go by. That should be a clue they are not situation aware.

        1. avatar IdahoPete says:

          Got that right – Condition White, aka totally oblivious to the real world.

          “One first feature is called “Walk With Me,” where the user can connect with a Safety Advisor while walking down a street.” Yeah, that’ll keep you safe – walk down the street concentrating on your cell phone and having a nice little chat with your “safety advisor”.

      2. avatar William says:


        Them streets is DANGEROUS!! Hang up the GD PHONE, you NITWIT!!

    3. avatar GB Whatsapp says:

      I think it’s safe for using

  2. avatar Peritas says:

    If you have to walk through a bad area by yourself, it makes total sense to do it while carrying a $650 item in plain view.

    1. avatar Joel says:

      you talking about a phone, or a gun?

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The phone. Check out how much a boosted iPhone is worth on the black market.

        It ain’t chump change, and it’s usually worth a heck of a lot more than the cash most people carry in their wallets or purses.

        1. avatar Joel says:

          Joke. That was a joke. J-O-K-E.

      2. avatar matt says:

        Problem is that iPhones support tracking lost ones.

  3. avatar Bill Baldwin says:

    I just checked the Chicago gun laws for you, Dan. It seems in order to purchase a gun, one needs TWO firearm owner cards, one from the state and one from the city as well as two background checks. There are no provisions for carrying a firearm either openly or concealed, so it looks like you should be relatively safe from any type of violent crime. /sarc

    1. avatar matt says:

      You don’t need two cards to purchase a firearm or ammo, all you need is a FOID. No gun store I even went to asked me for a permit, just my FOID. To possess a firearm (or ammunition) in Chicago you need a Chicago Firearm Permit, which I think can only be obtained after you buy the gun. There is a short grace peroid in the law that allows you possess one while a application is pending.

  4. avatar إبليس says:

    Just avoid the streets named after Martin Luther King.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      Good to see the wisdom of Chris Rock has not been lost…

      1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:


    2. avatar GS650G says:

      There are 4400 streets named after King, that might be hard to do.

  5. avatar ST says:

    Its ironic in hindsight that I was in more danger walking to my car in Chicago than I ever was at any point during my military career.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      That’s racist!

      (that’s also sarcasm, in case you didn’t realize that already…)

  6. avatar Avid Reader says:

    Speaking of useless: the city is now looking for “answers to the gun problem” on Twitter.

  7. avatar Aharon says:


    While in Chicago, be sure to take advantage of the great pizza and bbq restaurants.

    1. avatar IdahoPete says:

      Good advice – a condemned man is entitled to a good last meal ….

  8. avatar Dr. Dave says:

    I would suggest carrying a large spanner.

  9. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    Hold up, Dan. You’re going to be spending not just hours, but DAYS in Chicago? On purpose? I call bullsh!t.

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      True story. The ball ‘n chain has meetings there. Driving up Tuesday, back Friday. Ideally.

      1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

        Safe journey, man.

  10. avatar matt says:

    Hey Dan, what are you doing in my neck of the woods? If I wasnt broke as hell, i’d offer to take you out shooting, so you can at least get your fix even if you cant carry.

  11. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Well this isn’t exactly on topic but since everyone mentioned Chicago, which is an appropriate place to be worried about your safety, how could a resident of another state legally possess a handgun in Chicago — or is it more appropriate to say the entire state of Illinois? An Illinois resident with an FOID card can carry an unloaded handgun in a container — which can apparently be a fanny pack or purse. How about a person from another state? Can they carry an unloaded handgun in a fanny pack or purse?

    1. avatar ST says:

      Short answer to your question of out of state residents carrying or transporting arms in Chicago : Hellllllllllllllllllll NO.

      The entire state is only slightly better.

      Long answer from the city law:Chicago bans possession of all firearms unless the owner, resident or not , has a city permit. No city permit? Gun gets seized as contraband, and the owners vehicle can be impounded incident to the transport of said contraband. Mandatory $500 fine + impound costs. Laser sights are considered contraband meriting immediate forfeiture of a handgun or rifle so equipped regardless of registered status.

      As to transporting a gun with a case unloaded, the fact that IL has no state pre-emption foils that strategy. A lot of communities near Chicago have their own quirky laws regarding storage and legal transport which are incompatible with their neighbors. Its no exaggeration to state that driving to a gun range with a cased gun in northeast Illinois can plausibly result in an arrest if you pass through different cities on the way. I know personally of a city on I-94 which has a law stating that all handguns in city limits must have a city permit. Get stopped with a cased handgun sans permit, and you’ll owe the City of Highland Park IL $500. Drive to the next village of Vernon Hills IL, and guns have to have a trigger lock or one in the action to be legally transported.

      Get stopped with no lock on the gun? $500 fine and forfeiture of the weapon.

      Transporting it in a case on your person doesn’t exempt you from local charges, and for obvious reason’s there’s no human way you can research every law for every single city east of I-39 and north of I-80.

      As far as state transport goes, most places south of I-80 are a little less Soviet in their attitudes. You’d think its a different state, the attitudes are so different from Chicago’s. BUT! There are pockets of repression even in middle and southern Illinois.The State Police in southern Illinois near St. Louis has a reputation just below that of Darth Vader’s minions, so even though the local citizens aren’t anti gun your odds aren’t much better as an out of stater passing through.

      A wise traveller would take whatever steps are necessary to avoid Illinois territory at all reasonable cost. Your lawyer will thank you for it.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Thank you for the detailed reply ST. I had no idea all of the various cities had various requirements and fines.

        The picture you paint tells me that gun ownership in general and handgun ownership specifically is just about impossible. What you describe is a de facto ban and someone really should take that to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      2. avatar IdahoPete says:

        It is basically impossible for a non-resident with no Illinois FOID to stay overnight in Illinois with any firearm, without violating some state or local law. Even if you leave them unloaded, in a locked case, outside in your car [so they are not “readily accessible”] you will probably be arrested for making them too easy to steal.

        This is why you must always stop in Iowa or Indiana to stay overnight before crossing the People’s Republic of Illinois. Be sure to drive only on Interstates, and stop only to urinate on the state.

        Can we declare Illinois to be enemy territory, and set up an invasion to promote regime change and a return to Constitutional republicanism? Admittedly, we may have to nuke Chicago to reform it, but hey, what’s the down side?

  12. avatar Accur81 says:

    I’ve not once seen a cell phone make anyone a better driver or a more aware pedestrian.

  13. avatar Frank Williams says:

    That app sounds like it would be about as useful for protection as this one:

    (Available for Android; not sure about iPhone.)

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