How Safetipin is Making Cities Safer


There are certain neighbourhoods that you just can’t walk around in at night. It’s hard to explain, but the only thing you know is that being there leaves you with a creeping, niggling feeling. What makes people feel safe when they’re in a neighbourhood?

The two founders of Safetipin, Ashish Basu and Kalpana Vishwanath, have narrowed safety down to nine factors: lighting, openness, visibility, people density, security, walk path, transportation in the area, and feeling.

Safetipin crowdsources information on these nine factors in order to paint an accurate and transparent picture of cities.
The first eight work as independent variables, or factors that are measured on their own in the physical world. The last, ‘feeling’, counts as a dependent variable and is observed in conjunction with the first eight. “To explain a tangible like ‘feeling’, you need backup data,” explains Ashish. “We use the preceding data to understand changes in it.”

How Safetipin is making cities safer Once a certain number of these audits are conducted in an area, they are aggregated to create a ‘safety score’. Safety scores range from one to ten and are represented in that order by green, amber, or red pins. Audits can be shared on social networks and users can create ‘walls’ about certain areas that will then allow them to post info online like broken traffic lights and bad roads.

These are all accessible on Safetipin’s app, which also provides access to information about amenities like 24-hour pharmacies and ATMs. Among other things, the app also acts as a GPS tracker. “It’s over-configured,” Ashish jokes.

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