Sound Grenade a non-violent device for personal safety


The Sound Grenade is a handheld safety device. Photo credit: Ryan Corrall

Correction: An earlier version of this story included the incorrect title for Jill Turner. It has been corrected.

It’s small. It’s blue. It’s loud.

A new personal safety device called the Sound Grenade is available for students as a non-violent tool for campus safety.

Sound Grenade is a small personal alarm that emits a 120-decibel siren when activated. It is intended to deter crime and alert people of distress.

It’s the product of the Oakland-based company ROBOCOPP and marketed as a wearable alarm that can be clipped to a belt, backpack or keychain.

The Sound Grenade is formulated with college students in mind. Image courtesy of ROBOCOPP.

Sam Mansen, the founder of ROBOCOPP, was inspired to pursue the personal alarm concept after researching available safety devices while his sister was attending school in the Bay Area and finding there were few alternatives to pepper spray or knives.

“The whole idea is to deter an attack, right? Not just engage in one,” Mansen said in a phone interview.

In a University of Montreal study quoted by Mansen, when an alarm sounds, “68 percent of hold-up men run away empty-handed.”

Though Sound Grenade is easily activated, without training and conditioning a personal alarm may not have much effect in an attack situation.

Jill Turner, public relations director of ROBOCOPP. Image courtesy of ROBOCOPP.

“If you think about it, if you aren’t practicing something in a heightened situation, then it’s not going to come naturally to you,” said Jill Turner, public relations director of ROBOCOPP. “So practicing is very important.”

Violence prevention for men and women

Unlike other safety devices, Mansen says Sound Grenade is specifically designed for men and women.

“Violence is not gender-specific,” Mansen said.

To demonstrate this point, Turner told a story of a student she interviewed who had been assaulted and was looking for a self-defense class but couldn’t find one that wasn’t exclusive to women.

“It’s (Sound Grenade) definitely something everybody can use,” Mansen said.

According the University Police’s Annual Security Report, the only self-defense class offered is Rape Aggression Defense, which is limited to women only. Other safety education programs include Freshman Safe Start, Not Anymore and Sexual Violence, Bystander Intervention and Victim Blaming Training, but none of these programs focus on self-defense scenarios.

One layer of security

Sound Grenade is not a device that can prevent all crime, but it can be used as a part of self-defense.

“This is really just one layer of security. Your body and voice are going to be much more important than the Sound Grenade ultimately,” Mansen said. “Responding and having great posture and making sure you’re not an easy target is one of the most effective things you can do.”

Sound Grenade sells for $25 on Amazon. Pepper spray can be found for $3 on campus by the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center.

Chico State students had the opportunity to test Sound Grenade. Here’s what they thought…

Molly Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or @SullivanMollyM on Twitter.