Rachael Renda is on her journey to developing a new security app, Skye Security. Ever since she was young, Renda has been an avid true crime fan. Growing up, she has continued to listen to podcasts and read literature on cold cases. While studying online at Southern New Hampshire University to obtain her bachelors degree in forensic psychology, she created an idea for an app while experiencing uncomfortable situations in which she felt her choice or voice did not matter. After watching herself and close friends feel helpless in the presence of predatory behavior, she came up with the idea for Skye. Her goal by creating this app is to help prevent the crimes she was reading about, listening to, and in some cases, experiencing.
“With Skye, you create a safety network of friends and family that you can form by passively pressing a button or two on your phone’s sides when you feel a situation is escalating. Skye’s point is to passively keep you safe while you continue being adventurous, no matter how casual,” Renda states. “In a sense, Skye is a discreet way of asking for help without alerting your attacker.”
She hopes to use this app not just as an alert system, but also as a database for young men and women. She hopes that with this app someone can reach out to a preset network of people for help.
“In many situations when a person needs help, they can’t contact another person or the authorities without alerting their attacker. Skye would allow its users to alert someone that their date is making them uncomfortable or that there is a stranger that seems to be acting out of the ordinary,” Rachael divulges. “When the user sends out an alert to their friends and family, it wouldn’t be noticeable to anyone around them because the user would simply press a preselected button on the outside of their phone.”
Skye is designed to allow its users to preselect alert messages that their friends and family would receive throughout the day to ensure their safety. Renda has hopes to create the app to have a one way walkie-talkie setting where the user can allow their friends and family to listen to their surroundings during an encounter with a potential attacker. This would allow those who are allowed to listen to decide if things are beginning to escalate and they then can begin tracking your location.
Giving an example, explains that “A Skye user can schedule a date, an Uber/Lyft ride, a night out with friends, or even an after school activity, just like the calendar app on a cell phone. This way your network gets an alert, ‘Tess has left for her date! It’s at 7:35pm and she’s scheduled to arrive at The Cheesecake Factory in West Hartford at 8:23pm. Click to make sure Tess has everything she needs for her date or come along with her and watch as she arrives at her destination.”
Skye is meant to passively keep its user’s safe during everyday encounters. With Skye, she plans to have a tab for “filing a report.” This tab will be where young men and women can anonymously report that a date showed predatory behavior or made them uncomfortable. “Filing a report” may stop or lower the chances at which the ease at which a predator can jump from app to app without alerting anyone. There will also be informational tabs where users can search for the name of their date before meeting in person to see if any other users have “filed a report” against the person they will potentially be meeting.
Information pages will be available where users can find self-defense classes, contacts for local law enforcement, therapists that specialize in sexual abuse or assault, etc. Renda has high hopes that this app will surpass being used to keep online dating and everyday encounters safer. She hopes that Skye will also be used to prevent child abductions, human trafficking, abusive relationships, and any level of predatory behavior.
“Allowing young men and women to voice that they need help when they are in a position where they feel their choice or control has been taken away, is essential when trying to keep our loved ones safe. In my opinion, anyone can potentially benefit from this app. Parents could have a sort of peace of mind of knowing that their child could ask for help in a passive and discreet way and then could easily be located in a state of emergency. Friends would be able to relax a bit more knowing their close friends could continue being adventurous but safe. This app is for anyone and everyone that wants to make sure they have their own security team in any situation, dangerous or not.”
When comparing Skye to apps like Noonlight or Life360, Renda believes that Skye encompasses more than what just a single app can include. She believes Skye is an application with a broad range of options, fit for anyone that can help and prevent situations where someone may feel threatened. Renda has started a GoFundMe page as a way to fund the Skye Security project as well as created an Instagram page for the startup of the app.
“In high school, and even now, I always make sure to text at least someone my location so that if something happens, I can get help. I think that students not only at Woodland, but of any age group, could benefit from this app because it helps ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.”
Renda wishes that young adults, including but not limited to Woodland, get help without an attacker noticing, which with security apps already made, she believes, is hard. She believes that together we can act as our first line of defense against crime. Renda believes that it is important for any gender and any age of human to be able to have a silent alert system with them wherever they choose to explore.