My Panda is your security barometer all over the world.
My Panda is an application self-described as a barometer for security. In the United States, its services are active in New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Miami, and Los Angeles. I, being in Utah, was not actually in any of these areas for my review, so I snooped around like I was in L.A. Of the cities My Panda covers, it is the closest to me; therefore I got the L.A. news and security info anyway, which I found interesting.
If you’re planning to travel to one of the covered cities, I think My Panda would be a good resource, especially in light of recent acts of terror. It gives you directions to the nearest police station, shows you your latitude/longitude, allows you to report dangerous activity around you, and keeps you updated on security info and news around your location.
The home screen is a map of your area with a phone-holding panda representing your location. Tap the panda marker to access your coordinates so you don’t have to rely on possibly unfamiliar or confusing street signs or other locational markers to be able to tell someone where you are in case of an emergency. Another panda at the bottom of your screen is a quick menu with other emergency resource functions so you can quickly phone the police, find an emergency route to a safe location, report a danger, or get security info. One thing I like about this is the crowd-sourcing aspect of the reporting option. In some situations, witness reporting would alert you to danger before it got around to your security news feed.
One of My Panda’s features is training, which isn’t as much a feature as it is a black and white swipe slide show telling you how to report an incident to the police and to be on your guard.
Overall, my opinion is that My Panda could be a useful app. I think it could be a tiny bit more transparent because, let’s be honest, people generally aren’t actively thinking about the security of their general area. I’m not going to flip through news stories (including the ones about the LAPD charity events—which has nothing to do with my safety, even if I were in LA) to try to assess my level of safety. It is entirely possible that the app, when used properly in a covered area, has home screen map pop-ups that alert you to danger near you or something else that I’ve been missing due to being in the middle of nowhere, so keep that in mind.
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