From Delhi to Port Moresby, the Safetipin app Aims at Making Women Feel Safer

Going out for dinner and not sure which area would be safer at night for a woman travelling on her own? Want to track your daughter to ensure she gets back from college safely? A map-based mobile safety app may be your answer. Safetipin, designed by the charity Jagori uses crowd sourcing to rate the safety of areas in Delhi based on factors including lighting, population density, transport and gender diversity. It also acts as a personal GPS tracker, allowing users to be tracked or to trace a loved one. Safetipin is one of thousands of projects being rolled out in cities across the world as part of a United Nations initiative to stem cases of rape, sexual harassment and molestation in urban areas. From New Delhi in India to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and Quito in Ecuador, a small but growing number of municipalities, charities, companies and community groups are joining U.N. Women’s “Safe Cities Global Initiative”. “Unsafe public spaces limit women’s and girl’s life choices. This daily reality limits their freedom to participate in education, work, recreation, and in political life,” said Laxmi Puri, deputy executive director of U.N. Women. “In many cities, adolescent girls are afraid to walk on their own when they go to school on the streets in their own neighbourhoods because they experience various forms of sexual harassment, such as cat-calling, stalking, whistling, touching.” One in three women globally have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence, according to U.N. Women. While many countries have in recent years strengthened laws and improved infrastructure to curb sex crimes, efforts have lacked a coordinated, focused approach – and are rarely assessed for their effectiveness, experts say. RAPE CITY TO SAFE CITY? A burgeoning metropolis of 25 million, Delhi and its environs gained notoriety for sexual violence after a young woman was gang-rapped on an unlicensed bus in December 2012. The attack, and the victim’s death from her injuries sparked widespread protests and increasing awareness of the problem. As a result more women are reporting abuses, say charities and the police. There were 2,166 reported rapes in 2014 in the city against 1,636 in 2013 – a rise of 32 percent – according to police data. “There are areas where I feel safe like around busy markets where there are lots of restaurants, but there are many areas where it’s really scary,” said Reshmi, 22, a student, outside Green Park metro station in South Delhi. New Delhi is now one of 25 cities including Port Moresby, Quito, Kigali and Cairo to have joined the safe cities project. Some of the initiatives so far include boosting street lighting, installing toilets, setting up helplines and strengthening laws on sexual harassment. Each city first does a “scoping” survey on perceptions and attitudes towards sexual violence which is used to develop city-specific programmes that are evaluated every five years. In Delhi, for example, the first study done in 2012 found that 90 percent of women had experienced sexual violence in public spaces and only 5 percent felt safe in the city. Using these findings, authorities, charities and others can work out specific initiatives to address women’s safety. As well as the introduction of mobile apps like Safetipin, programmes that encourage men and boys to think about sexist behaviour are also being carried out. At the same time, the authorities are installing CCTV cameras in buses and police stations. They have also ordered taxi firms to have GPS systems in their cabs, and set up fast-track courts for sexual violence, amongst other measures. UPGRADED MARKETS, SAFETY AUDITS Other cities are also taking up the challenge. For example, in Cairo, the ministry of urban planning has adopted women’s safety audits to guide their development plans. In Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, authorities have upgraded a market where more than 80 percent of the vendors are women. They have build new infrastructure, including bathrooms and showers, renovated market stalls, provided access to potable water and established a vendors association. Municipal officials however admit that ending sexual violence is not just about creating infrastructure, but also about sustained public campaigns that dispel sexism and challenge gender stereotypes. “In the city of Kigali, every new paved road is accompanied by public lighting. This has contributed to a safer environment in which women can work in the evening and night hours,” said Hope Tumukunde, vice mayor of Rwanda’s capital, at conference on safe cities in Delhi last week. “But we are also using artists to deliver strong messages against sexual harassment through a popular singing competition. Such strong messages can go a long way towards changing sexist attitudes and it will ensure more prevention than retribution.” Article

Uber Expands SafetiPin Partnership to 4 More Indian Cities

Taxi hailing platform Uber is expanding its partnership with SafetiPin, a map-based mobile safety app, to reach up to 50 cities globally, including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurgaon and Noida. Earlier this year, Uber had partnered SafetiPin to run a pilot to generate safety scores for various locations in Delhi. The pilot was then extended to other global markets, including Bogota, Colombia and Nairobi, Kenya. "Uber is unveiling a global partnership with SafetiPin that will expand its reach to up to 50 cities, including cities in Africa, South America and Asia," Uber said in a statement. This new partnership begins September 21, with Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurgaon and Noida, it added. Uber said the pilots in Delhi and the other two cities were still ongoing but did not share any details. Last year, the cab-booking platform had drawn flak following public outrage after one of its drivers allegedly raped a 26-year-old executive in Delhi-NCR. The company has, since then, undertaken a number of initiatives, including partnership with background-screening firm First Advantage and introduction of a panic button. Under its partnership with SafetiPin, Uber connects its network of driver-partners who can choose to assist SafetiPin in mapping the safety parameters of a city while driving. Driver-partners are equipped with an outward-facing mobile device that records photos and GPS information for SafetiPin. Article  

This app is like the Pinterest of personal safety apps

In a article published by The Huffington Post , Safetipin has been mentioned as one of the most relevant Safety Apps . This was in reference to a article "7 Apps And Devices That Help Indian Women Be Safer". Further author  elaborated that "there are literally dozens of apps out there released after the Nirybhaya rape incident in 2012, but many of them haven’t seen an update for over a year. To keep this roundup relevant, we’ve narrowed it down to apps that have been updated in the last 3 months" The author narrowed down 6 other apps along with Safetipin among the most relevant Safety apps that helps Indian Women be Safer. For Safetipin here is what author has to say "This app is like the Pinterest of personal safety apps - apart from GPS tracking and alarm features, the user community updates and informs you on how safe an area is. The directory option helps you find emergency location numbers."

Safetipin has the potential to make our cities and towns safer-YourStory

In a article carried out by Yourstory( media platform for entrepreneurs) to review Safetipin app , the reviewer gave thumps up to the Safetipin app stating "The app is simple, easy to use with pleasing UI and UX. The app empowers users to help others in their city or town and also receive help from other in case of emergencies. I was able to try out all the features and was satisfied with the results. Even features like the ‘Safety Score’ which is calculated based on crowd sourced data seemed right, based on my general knowledge and past experiences at those places" Also in their final verdict the website stated that the solution has the potential to make our cities and town safer. For detail review ,read the article here

Ashish Basu on Safetipin features, safety audits and future plans.

In an interview, Ashish Basu (founder of Safetipin) shared his vision about safetipin and also explained in detail about features of the app.

Anju D. Pandey at SafetiPin Mobile Safety App launch

Anju D. Pandey, Programme Officer, Ending Violence Against Women, speaking at SafetiPin mobile safety app launch.

Ms Suneeta Dhar at SafetiPin Mobile Safety App launch

Ms Suneeta Dhar, Secretary and Director, Jagori, speaking at SafetiPin mobile safety app launch.

Mrs Rashmi Singh at SafetiPin Mobile Safety App launch

Mrs Rashmi Singh, Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women, speaking at SafetiPin mobile safety app launch.

Susmit Sen at SafetiPin Mobile Safety App Launch

Susmit Sen speaking at SafetiPin mobile safety app launch.

A G K Menon at SafetiPin Mobile Safety App Launch

SafetiPin Mobile Safety App launchA G K Menon, architect, urban planner and conservation consultant speaking.