By now most women in Hyderabad would have received a list of numbers and apps to be downloaded on phone for their safety. Men who were concerned about women’s safety would in turn have forwarded the same to the women they know. I too received a list, just as we did after Delhi’s gruesome incident in December 2012. As friends and colleagues also received the list, some argued ‘how many numbers to be saved? and we wondered which numbers are reliable, will they respond and not direct us to another set of numbers and so on.
At home, my domestic helps asked me if there is any number that will take their complaint without judging their socio-economic background? I didn’t have an answer; I never tried dialling 100 when I was stalked and harassed by a known person, for fear of being judged.
Considering that the phone is such an integral part of our life, it must come in handy when in trouble. However, what I noticed in many instances is that picking up the phone to take a photo of a group of boys harassing a girl on the road actually scares the mischief makers. Also, though I have apps that get me a cab, or deliver food and groceries, milk and meat to my home, I don’t have anything that can help me during an emergency.
So on Sunday morning, when most people are yet to have their first sip of their favourite warm beverage, I sat down to download the most recommended app — Hawkeye. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to work in the first place. After downloading and signing up, I started browsing the app. Of the many things I surfed through, I critically analysed a page that gave away important numbers of various police stations. Too much information to wade though and process when a woman is in danger, I felt.
Just when I decided to shoot it down as another useless app, I pressed the SOS button, just to see what happens. I was inquisitive. A pop up message read ‘The data couldn’t be read because it isn’t in the correct format.’ With a smirk, I shut the app and decided to have a cup of tea with a croissant that was getting warmed in the oven. Just as I reached the kitchen — in about 45 seconds — my phone rang. I took the callheard a voice on the other end say, “Madam you made a call. Are you ok? Your call came to us from the Hawkeye app. Please don’t panic, tell us what happened.”
That was when I really panicked because I had raised a false alarm. I explained to the caller why I had called and assured that I wasn’t in any danger. I waited to hear a few stern words of dos and dont’s from him. Instead, the man calmly said, “It is ok madam. Not to worry, thank you for calling.”
Impressed, I tweeted about it. I knew people needn’t be sceptical about the app ; they can actually use it when in danger. The app also allows users to report violence when in need.
A lot of people got back with their response and experience with the app. A lady said she uses it for her rides to be monitored at night, another gentleman said he downloaded the app for his mother who was travelling alone and was relieved when he received a confirmation from the police that his mother’s ride is being tracked at their end.
What is hawk eye app
The Hawkeye app is part of Hyderabad City Police’ initiative to empower common man to become Citizen Police. This citizen-friendly mobile app lets you to be in touch with the Hyderabad Police and report traffic violations, information on criminals, crime against woman, violations by police, suggestions for improved policing and report on good work done by the police. Essentially, it helps improve their security and reach out to police when in distress. The police is now urging women to use the SOS feature on the app when they feel threatened or are in danger.
The SOS button
This feature of the app is useful to seek the help of police in emergencies. When in a state of distress, emergency and exigency, one press of this button sends a pre-recorded message to pre-determined friends and relatives — any five of them — and simultaneously to the Inspector of police station, ACP, DCP, patrol mobiles and main control room, based on the location of the person. The message will include the name, phone no and address of the person and also the longitude and latitude of the person’s location. This would help in quick response of police to rescue the person in distress.
There’s no predicting how miscreants will behave, but with Hawkeye, I feel I have help at hand.