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Insurer launches iPhone panic alarm app

5th August 2010 Print

Legal & General have unveiled a personal panic alarm application for the iPhone, which is free for all iPhone users in the UK to download at

Research from the University of Leicester  earlier this year suggested that many criminals are switching from house burglary to personal muggings as 'traditional' targets such as DVD players have become so cheap as to have no resale value, with new items such as iPods, which are carried on the person, now more desirable.

The Legal & General panic alarm is simple to download and activate. In the event of trouble, the prominent Panic button that is displayed on the iPhone screen can be pressed or the phone shaken to emit an ear-shattering alarm to shock and disorientate a potential attacker. This gives the alarm user vital seconds to get away, as well as attracting attention so an attacker thinks twice about following through a possible attack.

The application also has a facility that will automatically call a nominated SOS number from the users address book to get help. The person on the other end of the call is able to hear what's going on and so summon assistance, if necessary. A PIN code set by the user means that if the attacker grabs the phone they will not be able to cancel the alarm and change the application settings or see details of the SOS contact.

Ruth Connor, Head of Consumer Proposition at Legal & General's general insurance business, said: "We're trying to give people a little extra peace-of-mind when walking home at night by combining an easy-to-use panic alarm with a simple way of making a call for help. Feeling safe outside of the home, whether it's on the way back from work or the pub or simply going to your car is just as important as feeling safe inside. The application is just about the most convenient way for people to carry around an attack alarm. Because it's on their phone, they are less likely to forget it."

Police forces, such as the Metropolitan Police, recommend personal attack alarms as a sensible and legal deterrent for your safety, not just for protection against possible attacks, but for other crimes such as stalking, for example.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which was set up to raise safety awareness after the disappearance of the 26-year-old London estate agent in 1986, has also long advised women and men to carry personal attack alarms.

Sarah Haddon, Director of Personal Safety at the Trust said: "We always say that personal alarms are just as good idea for men as for women. But remember that it should be just one part of your personal safety plan both in and out of the home: there are lots of other ways and precautions that can be taken to avoid being in a vulnerable situation or at risk of attack."

The following tips on personal safety precautions are designed to help as a checklist:

From The Suzy Lamplugh Trust

1. Always think ahead about where you are going and how to get there. Plan a route to avoid deserted poorly-lit streets, dark parks or alleyways.

2. Avoid wearing headphones or chatting on your mobile when walking down the street alone, as this could prevent you from hearing any danger warning signals.

3. Always carry a personal attack alarm. There use .will shock and disorientate an attacker and gain vital seconds to get away.

4. If you hear or see trouble ahead, then cut off or turn around before you get to it and head to the nearest safe place, such as a shop, garage, police station or anywhere where there are other people around.

5. Remember, alcohol severely affects your ability to make safe judgements. Think about how much you drink and the type of places you go drinking and whether friends will be around you.

From Legal & General

1. Lock all doors and windows, even when upstairs, as otherwise it may take only a few minutes for an intruder to gain entry into your home unheard.

2. Prune shrubs and hedges near your home to minimise the cover an intruder/ stalker may use to hide in.

3. Don't let strangers into your home without proof of identity.

4. Consider locking doors and windows when you are outside, even if it's only for a few minutes, particularly if they are not visible when you are in the garden - and especially if there is a risk you may fall asleep.

5. Consider installing security lighting and check it is in working order.

6. Remove all keys from locks and keep them out of sight.

It is possible to arrange for a mobile phone be covered for theft or accidental damage under the contents section of a household insurance or for loss or damage of a mobile phone while in and away from the home under personal possessions cover, if the mobile phone is for personal use. Personal possession cover is normally an additional option under a household insurance policy, so it is best to check with your insurance provider for full details and any exclusions that may apply. Further details of the cover available for mobile phones from Legal & General is available at