People Now, a website to guide women

With more women taking up public space in buses, rickshaws and cars, what would be a good way to monitor areas with sexual predators? Four young professionals from Mumbai and Delhi have come up with a convincing answer: www.safecity.in.

Safe City looks at prevention or at least vigilance through digital media. “If you’ve been harassed somewhere or seen someone being harassed, all you have to do is pin the area and click certain parameters or describe what happened. When more people pin the same place, it becomes a hotspot. You can submit a report via Twitter, Facebook or an Android or Apple phone (we have apps for those),” says Saloni Malhotra, who has come up with this along with Surya Bansal, Aditya Kapoor and Elsa D’Silva.

No registration is required to post a pin on the site and users can make anonymous reports. “You can get alerts on your mail about certain places or cities or even the kind of harassment that is happening there. A majority of cases of sexual harassment go unreported because things such as catcalls or groping can’t really be reported. You’d probably just slap him or tell him off. But it is important for you and me to know if this is a trend in some places so that we can take decisions for ourselves. We’re working on trying to submit reports via smses too and it will be operational soon,” says Saloni.

The website, which was launched on December 25, is based on an international model that has been successful in other countries. “The Netherlands also has a Safe City in their country while Egypt uses HarassMap. The important thing is to get a list of places and what happens there,” she adds. “If I’m new to a city, I can see where it is most unsafe and even the police can use it to beef up security in those areas. Even vendors and shopkeepers in the area can be sensitised about it. After all, it’s a public domain and the information will be relevant.”

The website will also soon list emergency numbers, dos and don’ts in certain situations and steps to take before and after an incident. “We’re trying to find an effective way of listing numbers for all cities and come up with ideas on how to act in certain situations. We are also writing to the Justice Verma Committee explaining how the police can use this as a part of their digital media strategy,” explains Saloni, “We’re about a week old and we already have 24 entries from all over the country. People have offered to volunteer. It is important in current times.”

You can submit a report in the following ways: Logging on to www.safecity.in, shooting an email to info@safecity.in, addressing a tweet to @pinthecreep with hash tags #pinthecreep and #safecity

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