Problem solving is a curse. It doesn't turn off.
So, while there are those to turn to hope, or hate, or combatting hate in the light of Christopher Peloso's disappearance, I'm automatically thinking about who can help locate him now and what can be done to provide more rapid, less public assistance for everyone down the road.
Here's where I'm at now.
The Crime Prevention Association of Toronto (CPAT) has partnered with Guardly, a smart start-up with a Security App that's first in class globally (they're based here in the city, I might ad). Guardly's basic App helps people in situations of distress (being chased, for instance) to send their geolocation to a set list of friends and security providers, up to but not necessarily including 911. It's a lot easier to hit a button discrectely then to have to place a dead-giveaway call.
CPAT's contribution ups the game significantly. One of the additions in their NotifEYE App is a push function; say you're a senior in Toronto Public Housing, have health issues but no family or friends who will come and check on you. Instead of falling, breaking a leg and being found dead a week later because someone complains about the smell, let's say you miss hitting a pop-up you get daily on your phone asking if you're okay. This sends a warning to a service provider who will place a call and, if there's no answer, ensure someone physically goes to check on you. Your life could be saved.
Could this sort of application be used for people at greater risk of going missing?
There are all kinds of privacy and freedom issues that will surely be raised at this point, but read on.
Some seniors have dementia issues. Some people with depression issues, or schizophrenia or other conditions are more likely to feel the need to extricate themselves from a normal environments. You could include some youth in this list, too.
If the person at risk and their family/caregivers/friends were to discuss such a NotifEYE system at a point where the at-risk individual was in a good headspace, parameters could be set with the goal of creating a clearly understood system, a safety valve that works for everyone. In the case of pre-established period of time without contact, family/friends/caregivers could send out a simple message that says "are you okay" or something equally innocuous just to know the at-risk individual is okay. The content and features of the push could be discussed and tailored by everyone concerned; the number of pushes allowed in a day or month could be established in advance.
The goal of such a tool wouldn't be supervision, but emergency. Like any emergency preparedness tool, it ideally would never be used, but you'd be ready when and if the need arises.
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