How Safety Apps in India are Mapping “Harassment-Prone” Zones

Women fear sexual harassment in public transport in at least 5 major commuter cities in the world.

2 min read
Hindi Female

Women fear sexual harassment in public transport in at least 5 major commuter cities in the world – found a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey released on Thursday, 15 November. The five cities surveyed were New York, Tokyo, Cairo, London and Mexico City.

In fact, out of the 1,000 women surveyed, only 368 respondents expressed confidence that other people would step in to help if they were being harassed or molested while in transit.

“Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport in five of the world's biggest commuter cities,” said a Reuters article that featured findings from the study.


But What About India?

While no Indian city was surveyed in the poll, with safety becoming a concern globally, developers in India have attempted to find a unique solution to the menace – by introducing ‘safety apps’ for women users.

According to a Reuters report:

“...apps like SafeCity, My Safetipin and Himmat (courage) promise anonymity to women reporting crimes and share data collected through the app with government agencies such as the police, municipal corporations and the transport department.”
Reuters report

These apps, according to its developers, help both women and the police in various cities by mapping “harassment-prone areas” – for instance, dimly-lit spots or bus stops.

The Reuters report also quoted Supreet Singh, a partner at Red Dot Foundation, and the woman who created the SafeCity app as saying:

“We want to bridge the gap between the ground reality of harassment in public spaces and what is actually being reported.”
Supreet Singh

In June 2018, a Thomson Reuters survey had found India to be the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and incidence of slave labour. The survey had ignited a massive debate about the issue of women’s safety in the country, with many criticising the present government on social media for the rank (India was previously at No 4 in 2011, still a despicable position).


(With inputs from Reuters.)

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