Where law enforcement and some public officials may let us down, a Black couple is using technology to help improve public safety in our communities right from our smartphones.

James Samuel, Jr., a Black military veteran, and his wife, Evelyn, are the developers behind Anjel Tech, an app that can livestream video and share your location with loved ones in real-time. The new app is designed to be a personal security system to capture racist encounters and other safety concerns.

This technology can be particularly useful considering the disproportionate rates at which Black Americans go missing. According to 2020 FBI data, Black people make up 35% of missing person reports, while making up only 13% of the US population. Meanwhile, White people make up 54% of missing person reports and 76% of the US population.

Anjel Tech has the potential to “decrease the number of dangerous incidents young Black people often face and give families peace of mind,” as BlackNews.com reported.

The nation’s recent fascination with every detail of the case of Gabrielle Petito, who went missing and was later found dead in Wyoming, prompted the Black and POC community to raise questions about the tens of thousands of women, men, boys, and girls — many of them Black, Latino or Indigenous — who are reported missing each year and go unnoticed.

Without media coverage and the police resources that usually follow, it often falls to families or organizations to pick up the baton and raise awareness until they are found. According to the National Crime Information Center, more than 70,000 Black girls under the age of 18 were reported missing in 2020. Statistics involving missing Hispanic people are even more difficult to categorize and obtain because they are classified as “white” in the federal data.

Anjel Tech, which also aids in assisting students on- and off-campus, addresses the alarming rates around the country. And recent cases involving Miya Marcano, Jelani Day and Daniel Robinson have increased the scrutiny behind the lack of coverage and law enforcement assistance.

Young people deserve to be safe and Anjel Tech aims to address those issues by reminding parents and students of these three safety tips:

1. Make a safety plan. Have conversations about the potential types of issues they might experience on and off-campus, discussing what to do if the student feels unsafe. Ensure they understand the community safety resources available to them and when to leverage each.

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2. The power of video. This year, the world saw the power of video to capture the unbiased record of events necessary to bring about accountability and administer justice in the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin. Recording and live-streaming video when a student feels unsafe is an essential way to both scare off offenders and to increase the potential for accountability. An app such as Anjel Tech, which turns any smartphone into a bodycam, would be useful in such situations.

3. The importance of sharing location. Saying to a child, “Text me when you get there” is an outdated behavior. Leverage technology to share real-time locations with family and friends. Someone should always know where the student is so that they can be there to help or call for help if the student is in danger.

The personal security system is available as an app on the Apple Store and Google Play.

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