Blogs

  Safety is an important aspect determining ones’ mobility, especially at night.  The lack of safe public transportation facilities and poor last mile connectivity restricts the mobility of women.   Working women and university students who are required to commute even after it gets dark are affected the most.  With the city growing in all directions, long commutes are becoming more common.Many people, including women, are dependent on public transport and the case of the stalking and abduction of Snapdeal employee, DiptiSarna best brought the issue of the challenges women face daily due to lack of proper last mile connectivity to light. Safetipin, a safety app,is used to collect data on the perception of safety across various locations in many cities.  The perception of safety is measured based on nine parameters- lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, security, walk path, public transport, gender diversity, and feeling.  Each parameter is rated from 0 to 3, 0 being poor and 3 being good.  The public transport parameter specifically measures the availability of any mode of public transport - metro/bus/auto/shared auto/cycle rickshaw etc. based on their distance from the audit location.  A location point having public transport available within 2minutes walking distance i.e. within 50m is rated good.  A location where no public transport is available within 10mins walking distance i.e. up to 400m is rated as 0.  The average rating of public transport in Delhi is 1.3/3 and the overall Safety Score of Delhi is 2.45/5 i.e. fair.  TheSafetipin data around various metro stations, bus stops and bus terminals has been analyzed and shared with the concerned authorities.  Metro stations along the yellow line have been audited for safety concerns covering an area of 500m radius around the station.  Similarly, for bus stops an area of 100m radius around the bus stop was audited.  Six bus terminals were audited along with an area of 30m around each.  Lighting, Visibility, Security and lack of para transit facilities have been found to be the major issues around these modes of transport.  Improving these will make the area safer thereby encouraging women to feel safe using public transport.  While this safety data is for the use of the government and municipalities for on-ground infrastructure up gradation, the data has been integrated into our app My Safetipin, to be able to help the end-user have a safe commute.  The app provides the Safety Score as you move through the city. This safety information is integrated with Google’s traffic data allowing one to make an informed decision based on traffic, distance as well as safety. Further, the app also provides alerts to the user when she enters an unsafe area. My Safetipin is a tool to ensure one’s safety while traveling.  However, the need to ensure safe last mile connectivity cannot be undermined especially in the wake of the Delhi government’s efforts to reduce vehicular congestion on roads and expand the public transportation network.  Safetipin data is a key to ensuring safer commute using public transport. 

Mon, 13 Jun, 2016
By Kriti Agarwal
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The gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012 sparked national outrage in India. Since then, other brutal acts of violence have taken place in India’s cities, including the rape and murder of a 30-year-old law student on April 28 in Kerala. There were 337,922 reported crimes against women in 2014, among them over 36,000 were rape. And these are the incidents that are reported; sadly, many are not. Today, more and more women are migrating to India’s cities in search of work, which has led to increased concern over the last few years about their safety in urban areas. Delhi alone accounts for 15.4 percent of crime against women in Indian cities, and witnessed an 18.3 percent rise in reporting of crimes against women in 2014 compared to 2013. One of the effects of the 2012 case was growth in consciousness and increased reporting of crimes against women. The fear of violence in public spaces affects the everyday lives of women as it restricts their movement and freedom to exert their right as citizens of the city – freedom to move, study, work, and leisure. The rapid pace and nature of urbanization taking place throughout the world has thrown up new challenges for governments, citizens, as well as social scientists and activists. Urban spaces provide new opportunities for people to build their homes and lives, but at the same time, can reinforce existing inequalities and often create new ones. While violence and fear impacts a city’s population as a whole, marginalized groups are much more vulnerable.   Creating a safe environment involves much more than just responding to violence. It is important to create the conditions by which women are able to move about safely and without fear of violence or assault. Fear often plays a key role in women’s experience and access to the city. Therefore, in order to create greater levels of safety and comfort, both actual violence and the fear of violence need to be addressed. Research has shown that many factors play a role in determining women’s access to the city including urban design and planning, community involvement, improved policing, and usage of space. The question was how to gather that information to build safer cities. In 2013, I co-founded the mobile app and online platform Safetipin, with funding support from The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle, which collects information about public spaces through a safety audit that can be done by anyone, anywhere in the world. Safetipin is a free app and can be downloaded from the App store or Google play. At the core of Safetipin is the safety audit that measures nine parameters including lighting, openness, visibility or “eyes on the street,” presence of security, the state of a walking path, as well as the presence of people and specifically women, on the streets. It is a crowdsourced app and anyone in the world can download it and use it. Each audit appears as a pin on a map and is used to compute the Safety Score of an area. Visit complete articles at here........Asia foundation Download.... My Safetipin App Download.....Safetipin App

Fri, 13 May, 2016
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ENHANCING LAST MILE CONNECTIVITY Safety audits were conducted from June 2015 for 17 metro stations of the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro. These stations were selected on the basis of their footfall and further connectivity options. An area of approximately 500m radius around each metro station has been studied to assess the safety and improve the last mile connectivity for the passengers, focusing on female commuters. The audits indicate that of the nine parameters; Visibility, Crowd, Security and Gender Diversity have been rated the poorest with Light and Public Transport being rated Average. Recommendations to better integrate the Metro with other modes of travel have been made. The Safety Scores for these 17 metro stations have been specified in the map.  

Mon, 01 Feb, 2016
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Safety Audits have been conducted in the city of Delhi since September 2013. This was done using the Safetipin App which measures the safety based on nine parameters – Lighting, Openness, Visibility, Crowd, Security, Walk Path, Public Transport, Gender Diversity and Feeling. Lighting is one of the most important parameters determining the level of safety offered. Dark unlit areas are attractive zones for the crime. As a step towards making our city safe, the dark spots in Delhi were identified. In the Safetipin App, the Lighting parameter is rated from 0-3 depending on the illumination level at the audit location. A rating of 0 indicates the absence of any light i.e. a Dark Spot. The reason for this can be either the bulb was not working, problem in the wiring, or absence of a light pole. A total of 70934 audit pins were generated for Delhi. Of these, 6748 are dark spots. The audits reveal that the north-west and southwest districts have the maximum number of dark spots with the central district having the least number. The data on dark spots has been shared with the concerned agencies i.e. the Public Works Department, the Municipal Corporations and the Delhi Development Authority. Once the problem areas have been rectified fresh audits shall be done to assess the change in safety of the area.  

Tue, 05 Jan, 2016
By Kriti Agarwal
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Increasing the strength of the police force, setting up one-stop centres and keeping the streets well lit are some of the solutions suggested by HT’s panel of experts for improving women’s safety in Noida and Ghaziabad.The panel comprised Prakash Singh, former director general of police (Uttar Pradesh police and Border Security Force); BK Gupta, former Delhi police commissioner and Kalpana Vishwanath, co-founder of SafetiPin. SafetiPin is an organisation that works to make cities safer for women.Discussing the issue of women’s safety, Gupta said in Delhi, sodium bulbs have been replaced by LED lights in almost all streetlights as they are brighter.“Sodium lights and incandescent tubelights fail to serve the purpose as they do not fully brighten up the area. Dark alleys are the places where women mostly feel unsafe and vulnerable. Streetlight cover in Noida and Ghaziabad should be increased and the existing bulbs must be replaced with LED lights as soon as possible,” said Gupta.The idea was echoed by Vishwanath, who said that streetlights are most important in making a woman feel safe on the streets.“Streetlights are an important factor in determining whether an area is termed safe or not. And this is the reason why it is one of the nine parameters in a safety audit conducted by SafetiPin. In the audit, we have found that most places in Noida have scored zero on the streetlight factor,” said Vishwanath.Talking about the infrastructural requirements for making cities safer for women, Gupta emphasised on CCTV camera surveillance, not only in public places but also in public transport vehicles.“CCTV camera network is must to prevent crime against women as a criminal will know that he is being watched. For instance, the kidnapping of a woman in Gurgaon on Monday came to light as it was caught on CCTV camera. She was saved because of this. Moreover, CCTV cameras should be installed in public transport vehicles also as appointing a marshal in each vehicle is not feasible,” he said.Prakash Singh talked about having more women police personnel. According to him, the ideal representation of women in a police force should be one-third of the total strength, but it is less than 10% in Noida and Ghaziabad.“Increasing representation of women in the police force is necessary as it will help restore faith of women in the police and they will not be afraid of lodging complaints,” said Singh.He said there is a need to recognise the reason behind the rise in crime against women.“There is erosion in the value system, which needs to be tackled at the family and institutional level. Moral values and ethics have disappeared and there is a need to restore them,” he said.Gupta said like Delhi, the Uttar Pradesh police should also have a post of commissioner as this will make police officers more proactive.“The UP police lag behind the Delhi police in sensitiveness towards issues regarding crime against women. During my tenure, I had started a policy under which if a woman was stuck somewhere in the city late at night and was unable to find any safe mode of transport, she could call a PCR van which would drop her home safely. This kind of a facility can be started here as well,” said Gupta.Singh said one-stop centres for women should be set up in Noida and Ghaziabad.“The policy for one-stop centre was introduced after the December 16 gangrape incident in 2012, but the progress has been extremely slow. Noida and Ghaziabad are in a dire need of such centres as the rate of crime against women is high here. Such a good idea should be followed up on,” he said.Looking at the way forward for the issue, all three experts agreed that a lot has changed since December 16, 2012 in Delhi, but there is still a long way to go before the cities are safe for women.“Awareness regarding crimes has increased and cases of crime against woman are taken with utmost importance. However, there is still a lot that needs to be done with regard to infrastructure and how our cities are designed,” said Vishwanath.Gupta said that earlier police officials used to dissuade a woman from lodging an FIR. But now, since the laws have become stringent, all crimes are registered.“The Supreme Court has passed an order that if a police officer refuses to lodge an First Information Report (FIR) for a crime against a woman, a criminal case can be registered against him. Moreover, laws have been passed which categorise stalking as an offence which is an improvement,” said Gupta....Article Source. Google Play Store..... Safetipin: Personal & Women Safety App Apple Play Store......... Safetipin: Personal & Women Safety App

Mon, 04 Jan, 2016
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Safetipin has launched a new app earlier this year called Safetipin Nite. This app has been specifically designed to take photographs of the city at night in order to supplement the data that is collected on Safetipin through crowdsourcing. The Safetipin app works as a tool for citizens to audit and rate public spaces on defined parameters of safety. Safety here is defined in relation to fear and crime, specifically on violence against women. While the Safetipin app can be downloaded by individuals to input and see all the available data, the Safetipin  Nite is a tool to collect data through photographs. The phone is attached on to the windscreen of a car and takes photographs at regular intervals as the car moves along.  As the data is collected, it is directly uploaded and it is used to code on the basis of the 8 parameters of the Safetipin app - lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, presence of women, presence of security, availability of public transport and the state of the walk path. Once the data is coded, it appears as an audit pin on the Safetipin app and web interface. Therefore the data collected through the photographs can be seen by people in the city to make safer decisions.  The purpose of developing this app was to find a way to collectlarge scale data in cities at regular intervals for use by urban planners and other urban stakeholders. We have begun using this method  to collect data in five cities - Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru in India; Nairobi in Kenya and Bogota in Colombia. We will soon be starting data collection in another ten cities in the next few months. This data is very useful for planners, police and others as it gives safety parameters over a large part of the city. For example in Delhi, data has been collected over 4000 km of a road across the entire city and similarly over 3000 km in Bogota city. This means that it can be used for urban decision making and resource planning by city officials. For example in Delhi, the data has been shared with the Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Police and the MCD for them to use in assessing the level of lighting in the city, the state of the walking path or how safe people feel in the city. Thus, if PWD or MCD wants to take a decision on which parts of the city need to be improved lighting, then the Safetipin data can be used to gauge where the lighting scores are low. Further, it is useful as it allows regular data collection. Thus, if the city government effects changes which could have an impact on safety, we can redo the audits in that area and show that in fact the safety of the area has improved because of specific initiatives or programs. It, therefore, becomes a very useful tool to measure change and impact. We work with cab companies in the collection of data and have forged a global partnership with Uber who is supporting this initiative in expanding it to cities both in India and globally. 

Fri, 27 Nov, 2015
By Kalpana Viswanath
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Mobility is a very important factor in safety. Bus stops are often one of few places that women can wait at. Research has shown that women wait at bus stops even if they are not waiting for a bus necessarily, as the bus stop is relatively a safer place and an acceptable place for women to be seen standing at. Safetipin therefore embarked on an exercise of analysing how safe the bus stops in Delhi are. We have conducted over 12,000 safety audits across the city and we wanted to see the safety score of select bus stops. The safety audit is conducted using the Safetipin app and measuring the eight parameters of lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, gender diversity, security, state of the walk path and availability of public transport. In addition the safety audit also examines the feeling of safety in the area. Safetipin has generated a safety score at 275 bus stops. These bus stops are located in all parts of the city - north, south, east , west and central. We calculated the safety score of a bus stop where there were at least three safety audits within a 100 metre radius.  Based on an average of the safety audits, a safety score is generated on a measure of 1 to 5, with 1 being the least safe to 5 being the safest.  Of the 275 bus stops that we have data about, under 20% had a score of less than 2. 44% of the bus stops had an average safety score between 2 and 3.5 and approximately 35% had scores higher that 3.5. While extremely few bus stops had a score of 5, there were quite a few that had scores of 3 and 4 which are above average safety. On the whole, a majority of bus stops had fairly decent scores. On other parameters, 40% of the 275 bus stops had poor lighting. This is an issue of concern as many women (and men) need to use bus stops in the evenings after dark and the lack of lighting makes it much more unsafe to use. From the graph below, we can see that the number of bus stops with scores under 1.5 is very high. Some bus stops have a score between 1.5 and 2 but few above 2. In terms of the walk path, 20% were reported to be poor. This is a positive thing as approximately 80% of bus stops had good walk paths in this study. This reflects that the pavement in and around bus stops in several areas was quite good. It is important to note that approximately 35% of the bus stops were rated as safe and another 37% were rated as unsafe by the auditors. A large number of bus stops were seen as having average feeling of safety.    Of the bus stops that were rated safe, 49.5% are in South; 4% are in East;10.6% are in West;   12% are in North; and 22.4% are in Central Delhi.  Further our data showed that bus stops on Mahatma Gandhi road in West Delhi had the lowest safety scores. The maximum number of bus stops with a low score were located in west Delhi. Also the bus stops on the road on the airport road were also quite unsafe. Check Complete Analysis .....Delhi Bus Stop Safety

Wed, 27 May, 2015
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About SafetiPin is a map-based mobile phone application which works to make our communities and cities safer by providing safety-related information collected by users. The organisation works to promote safety of women and has since its inception created a technology platform to address the urgent issue of safety in cities across the world. Safetipin’s team has done ground breaking work in collecting large scale safety data from 12 cities in the world and have successfully used this data for advocacy. We work with the leading women’s oganisations in India and partner with them to bring change. Purpose of Internships: We encourage applicants from skilled and motivated young people to serve as interns at Safetipin. The purpose of the internship is to provide an opportunity for individuals to substantively contribute to and learn from our work in the area of women’s safety, technology and urban planning. The intern will be given specific tasks and responsibilities and will be challenged to develop their capabilities and gain experience. The intern is expected to be flexible and to take part in various activities at the office and sometimes in the field. Requirements: We expect applicants to have at least a first degree; and Masters degree students are encouraged. We are looking for interns who are committed, hard-working, positive, open-minded, reflective and willing to learn. At any one time we expect to host between two to three interns. Internships are open to everyone. We will seek to find a balance by hosting people from a diversity of interests, backgrounds and experiences. Time Commitment: Generally 1-2 months, to be mutually agreed Conditions: Internships are on a voluntary basis, and no payment is provided. In some cases, travel costs may be reimbursed. Shared office space will be provided in Gurgaon. Application procedure: Send a cover letter explaining your motivation and a description of what you hope to achieve during your internship at Safetipin. Specify your main skills and interests and relate them to our thematic areas of work. Also specify the requested internship period / dates. Applications must be submitted via email to rashee.mehra@safetipin.com Deadline for the submission of applications is 20 May 2015.

Mon, 11 May, 2015
By Rashee Mehra
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On the night of December 16, 2014, a group of women's organisations in Delhi led by Jagori, set out to conduct safety audits across four routes of the city. Safetipin was the app used to conduct these audits that were done between 7:30 and 10:30 pm. The audits were done across four routes - the route of the Nirbhaya bus from Munirka to Mahipalpur; the Uber cab route from Moti Bagh to Inderlok, the Delhi University area to Azadpur and Jehangirpuri ; and finally from Connaught Place to Noida. These four routes covered large sections of the city and also covered all directions.  The groups who were a part included Jagori, Safetipin, CFAR, Lawyers Collective, NFIW, AIPWA, Action India, Reclaim the Night, CHSJ, SNS, Samarthyam, Nirantar, Breakthrough, Women's Feature Service, Sakha Cabs, Azad Foundation,  and some colleges like Miranda House and Kamla Nehru. Through this collective safety audit drive approximately 60 kilometres of roads were covered in Delhi and data was recorded on the gaps that exist in public infrastructure, social usage of public space, public transport and policing. In total, 146 safety audits were recorded  along these routes.  In addition, the teams also observed the areas and spoke to people on the streets, in public transport and waiting for public transport. The Safetipin safety audit measures eight parameters - lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, gender diversity, security, walk path and nearness to public transport. In addition to this, each audit also asks the auditor to rate whether they feel safe or not in a public place. Based upon the 146 audits, these are the summary of findings.  From the table below we can see that gender usage was very low in all the areas. Presence of visible security was also quite low except for the Munirka route and lighting was average.  While the state of the walk path and nearness and availability to public transport was generally a bit higher, the feeling of safety overall was fairly low. If we look at the table below, we can see the breakup for each route. Security was very low on the Uber route as well as the Delhi University route. The Munirka route had higher security, both in terms of police at specific locations and patrolling on motorbike. On the positive side, the walk path and availability of public transport was fairly high on several parts of these routes. Visibility was low in all the areas. Low visibility means that there aren't enough 'eyes on the street'- no presence of vendors, or shops/doors/houses facing the street. Gender usage expectedly was low in all areas and this is a serious concern that the number of women on the streets starts reducing as the city gets dark. The presence of security was also very low except on the Munirka route (which may have had more security because it was December 16th, the anniversary of the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey). On almost all of the parameters, the scores were lower on the Uber route. The feeling of safety on that route was also the lowest. Based on all the above data, we found that gender diversity on the streets has the highest impact on the feeling of safety and comfort in being out. As can be seen in the chart below, it outranks every other factor. This is followed by three other factors which have about the same impact - visibility (streets where you can be seen by others, 'eyes on the street'), lighting and presence of visible security.  Thus if we want to improve the feeling of safety on our streets, we need to address those factors that appear to have the greatest impact on the feeling of safety.

Wed, 14 Jan, 2015
By Kalpana Viswanath
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This weekend, the State Commissioner for Police in Victoria Australia, Ken Lay, resigned due to illness in his family. The work that Ken Lay and his predecessor, Christine Nixon, accomplished in changing police culture on violence against women should be honoured. Intimate partner violence – assault and murder, mostly by men in relationships with women – is the single biggest risk to health for women aged 15 to 44 in Australia. Over the past 15 years, the state police force has not only vastly improved its response to intimate partner violence, but has also been seen as a model for other Australian states to follow. Christine Nixon, the first Australian woman to lead a state police force, battled entrenched police culture from 2001 to 2009. She led innovation in terms of greatly improving police response to intimate partner violence, often against furious opposition from the association representing police officers. Ken Lay, who took over the top police job in 2011, strengthened and consolidated Nixon’s commitment to battling both sexist police culture and differential treatment of violent offences. This change in culture was brought to the fore after the rape and murder of Jill Meagher in September 2012. Jill Meagher was a young woman who lived in central Melbourne and worked for the ABC (Australia’s national radio station). She was followed by a serial rapist while walking the few blocks from a local bar, where she had met up from friends, to an alley near her home. Jill Meagher was one of three women murdered in Victoria the same week, and one of 91 women murdered in the state that year. It is easy to say that her case garnered huge public outcry (with 30,000 people marching on the street where the pub was located, Sydney Road,soon after) because she was young and attractive, middle-class, married, and of European origin. What is harder to recognize is that because she was attacked by a stranger, she fell into a trope: both attacked because of her choice in walking home alone (classic victim-blaming), and seen as an identifiable ‘everywoman’. She wasn’t made anonymous by being put in the basket of those ‘other’ woman who are killed by their male partners. The conservative state government reacted to the outcry about Jill Meagher’s murder by offering local councils more closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) This response flew in the face of evidence that the presence of multiple CCTV cameras along Sydney Road played no role in either the prevention of her murder, or the apprehension of her killer. And this was one of those times when the changed police culture mattered. I was at a public meeting in the local council where Jill Meagher was murdered a few months later, debating CCTV. A police officer showed a map of where violent assaults and murders took place in that jurisdiction. There was a slight cluster along Sydney Road, but the most apparent pattern was scattering in residential neighbourhoods. In other words, for the first time in my 25 years of working on violence prevention, I saw violence in the home being mapped alongside violence on streets and in pubs. The sheer absurdity of a localized CCTV response to a problem that is everywhere and affects everyone was brought home, not by a feminist activist, but by a police officer. In one of its first public statements, the new Victorian state government has announced a commission into family violence. I am cautiously optimistic that the rest of government might catch up, in this instance, to the police.   Carolyn Whitzman is Professor of Urban Planning, Acting Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning and Stream Leader, Access to Public Goods, Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Fri, 09 Jan, 2015
By Carolyn Whitzman
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