Six months ago. It was a perfect day. A sunny 72° with a light breeze. Lisa and her daughter Christine were at the mall, shopping for a dress for the Snowflake Dance. The last dance of middle school.
"I’d accidentally left my purse in the van," Lisa says. "I asked Christine to get it for me."
So Christine headed to the car and got the purse. After she locked the car door behind her, she stopped to look up at the sky and admire how beautiful the day was. She remembers that she couldn’t see a single cloud in the sky. That’s when it happened.
"Someone put their hand over my mouth," Christine says, "and they started pulling me backwards."
Christine couldn’t make a sound as, though she didn’t know it at the time, she was being pulled backwards into a waiting van. She didn’t have anything to defend herself with. But that’s when she remembered her mom’s purse.
"I remembered mom had gotten this Safe alarm," Christine says. "I could feel it dangling on the purse. So I grabbed it and pulled the pin."
Immediately an excruciatingly loud noise erupted from the device. Christine felt the hand let go of her mouth before she was pushed to the ground.
The sound was so loud that people were walking toward the noise to see what was happening. A couple witnesses saw the van driving off, saw Christine, and made the connection as to what happened. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get the license plate and the van wasn’t found until three days later, abandoned in a parking lot fifteen miles away. It had been stolen two weeks prior.
Though her assailants got away, Christine is grateful. And so is her mother.
"I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if she didn’t have that alarm with her," her mother says. "I thank God every day that she did."
Today, Lisa and Christine get up extra early. There’s a Women Against Violence event three hundred miles away that they don’t want to miss. Paul Davidson, the creator of the SafeShield Personal Alarm, is speaking at the meeting. They want to thank him personally.
"Police say the number-one reason that leads to successful kidnappings is the victim cannot make noise," Davidson, 52, says at the meeting. "The kidnapper tries to keep the victim’s mouth shut. The ability to easily make noise is absolutely crucial."
He elaborates that hearing this statistic was the inspiration for developing the SafeShield Personal Alarm. He says he had two main focuses when developing it: To make it as accessible and as loud as possible.
The device easily attaches to purses, keys, and backpacks. It’s also small enough to fit in your pocket. But it packs a wallop.
A single device is capable of creating a 125db to attract attention and scare away potential assailants. To compare, it’s the same volume as a military jet during takeoff.
It’s also simple to use. Rather than having a button that could easily be pressed by accident, the Safety device has a pin. Once pulled, the device emits an ear-piercing sound for up to 30 continuous minutes, or until the pin is re-inserted. It can be reused over and over.
Davidson is hoping for more than just a kidnapping deterrent. He wants to help stop all kinds of crimes.
"It can be used for so many different things," he says. "Parents can give it to their kids as an extra layer of protection. Teenagers can use it so they can feel safe walking home. Women can know it’s there when they have to use the parking garage at night. I’ve given it to all the women in my life. My mother, who is 76 years old, carries it around in case she falls and needs to alert people for help."
After Davidson is done speaking, Lisa and Christine get up to thank him personally for saving the young girl’s life. But they have to get in line. It seems that Christine isn’t the only person that the SafeShield has helped.
Eventually, when it’s their turn to speak to him, Christine begins to thank Davidson. But her mother cuts her off by embracing the man tightly, saying "thank you so much," over and over.
It’s a story Davidson hears almost every day—how his safety device was able to help someone in need.
"But I never get tired of hearing it," he says with a smile. "
Police note that violent crime has risen in many areas in 2019, particularly in the last month.
But it’s not all bad news. Police are also noticing a trend when the Safe Personal Alarm is used.
“The loud noise disorients the criminal,” police say. “It throws a wrench in their plans, and they retreat.”
They’re noticing that the victims are usually unharmed.