The call also sent the woman's GPS coordinates to dispatchers, who immediately sent deputies to the scene.
Trigger warning: This story contains details of sexual assault that some readers may find distressing.
One woman reportedly managed to discreetly alert the police while being sexually attacked in broad daylight thanks to a little-known trick on her iPhone. According to ABC Action News, the unnamed woman was walking along US 301 in Wimauma, Florida, early one morning in 2018 when she was allegedly attacked by a man named Sergio Valdez. Arrest documents state that Valdez, who was 22-years-old at the time, threw the woman to the ground, choked her, and tried to pull her pants off while telling her "she was going to have his baby."
Woman uses smart phone trick to call police during sexual attack https://t.co/5A6jLfhbNP pic.twitter.com/4T3zZFolVV— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) February 27, 2018
Fortunately, amid the struggle, the woman managed to get a hold of her smartphone and use a little-known feature that allows individuals to dial 9-1-1 without ever unlocking it. While this feature varies from phone to phone, the woman knew that for her particular device, she had to hit the screen lock button on the side of her iPhone five times to get to a screen to call 9-1-1. Dispatchers on the other end of the call, heard the woman crying and struggling to get her alleged attacker off of her.
How to set up emergency location sharing on Android and iOS— Adele C. Novotny (@AdeleCNovotny) March 18, 2019
Smartphones are spectacular for snapping photos, scanning the news, and sending messages, but they can also be literal lifesavers if you take the time to set them up before the need arises.
B… https://t.co/66uC7ZE9MF pic.twitter.com/oJlOyfzySM
The call also sent the woman's GPS coordinates to dispatchers, who immediately sent deputies to the scene. The arrest report states that a passing vehicle distracted Valdez long enough for the woman to escape from his clutches. Deputies arrived at the location and arrested him while he was searching for the victim. On YouTube, a majority of the comments below a report of the incident expressed disappointment that the safety feature that alerted the police isn't more widely known or advertised. "Why aren't these features advertised more openly instead of being tucked away in the small print of the owner's manual. As a female consumer, these features are important to me and would definitely influence my decision when purchasing a new phone. I had no idea my phone had this. Could save lives," wrote one commenter.
"Why isn't this advertised???? How many lives could this feature have saved if they’d advertised it as much as the camera or the battery life?" commented another. "I actually found out about the 'trick' when my stepfather was getting drunk and got abusive. Considering I was freaking out, I accidentally spam clicked the button and it automatically called the cops. I also had forgotten how to make an emergency call so it was quite really useful," revealed one viewer named Jasmine.
emergency SOS this will come up make sure both of they bits are on. I know everyone probably knows this but even if it helps one person i’ll be happy. There is also an option at the very bottom to make sure the noise doesn’t play this could help if you are in a situation where pic.twitter.com/QX1cgQ4BE8— abbie (@TOX1CTITS) March 11, 2021
According to Apple, to use the emergency SOS feature on an iPhone with Face ID — iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus — users should: "Press and hold the side button and either volume button. Continue to hold the buttons when the Emergency SOS slider appears, until iPhone plays a warning sound and starts a countdown. (To skip the countdown, drag the Emergency SOS slider.) When the countdown ends, iPhone calls emergency services." You can also enable iPhone to start Emergency SOS when you click the side button five times by going to Settings and turning on the "Call with Side Button" option in the Emergency SOS section.
there is also a feature on the samsung that you can enable a photograph and a voice message to be sent alongside the SOS message with your location. This could really help pinpoint where u are and what’s going on.— abbie (@TOX1CTITS) March 11, 2021
For other iPhone models, "click the side button or Sleep/Wake button (depending on your model) five times, then drag the Emergency SOS slider." After the emergency call ends, iPhone will alert your emergency contacts that you made a call and will also send them your current location if available. According to TechRadar, these features differ depending on the manufacturer of Android phones. You can often find the information you need by searching for phrases such as SOS messages or simply the word 'emergency' in your phone's Settings.