Londoners use Safe & the City to ‘crowd source’ safer streets for all

technology
software

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Londoners are coming together to share their experiences of navigating around the city by reporting incidents of sexual harassment and ratings of walks through the award-winning mobile app, Safe & the City.

Hundreds of women and men have reported where they have experienced unsafe or uncomfortable environments or incidents of verbal, non-verbal or physical sexual harassment that would normally go unreported. Government research shows that while 85 per cent of women experience some form of harassment, 90 per cent of the incidents remain unreported.*

Safe & the City (http://safeandthecity.com/) is a London-based technology company that is geared towards making a safer city for all. It uses GPS, crowdsourced information and police risk data to reduce victims of opportunistic crimes and sexual harassment.

Safe & the City’s innovative use of navigation technology enables people to plan their walks with safety in mind; reach Safe Site locations and seek help from trained staff, and quickly contact emergency services. These key data insights can build a picture of what is known and previously unknown to make real-time street-level changes while personalising routes for users.

The app, which was launched on International Women’s Day 2018, is continually being enhanced to improve the user experience and provide greater information. The latest improvements include better navigation with turn-by-turn directions, integration with what3words for greater accuracy, and pinned locations of police stations and licensed premises involved in the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign can also be identified as Safe Sites.

Workspace venue, Huckletree Shoreditch, was one of the first Safe Sites locations, identified to users as a place in the app where they can get support. This venue, like the others, offers a safe haven for people who feel uncomfortable or are in need of assistance.

All reports are anonymous and are shared with the police, Safe Site locations and public bodies to provide them with the tangible evidence required to create street-level changes throughout the city, as well as regionally and even nationally.

In the year since the launch, Safe & the City has forged strong working partnerships with several key organisations. With UN Women UK the partnership is geared towards a pilot research project for the UN Women’s Global Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces initiative aimed at providing decision makers with the data insights essential for creating safe and inclusive spaces for women and girls; with the Metropolitan Police to create safer streets for everyone; and integrating locations into the maps from the Ask for Angela campaign, which works to prevent and reduce sexual violence and vulnerability in night-time service economies.

Commander Richard Smith, Head of Safeguarding at the Met Police has said “We are pleased to see the efforts of Safe & the City. This is an innovative use of our crime data that we can use together to keep people safe. Preventing people from becoming victims of crime in the first place must be a part of any sustainable strategy.”

Safe & the City has over 5,000 pledged users who are reporting their direct or witnessed experiences of harassment and committing to creating safer streets for everyone. Users have shared the various ways Safe & the City has helped them from choosing areas free of harassment for a night out to planning running routes.

Jillian Kowalchuk, CEO and Founder of Safe & the City, said, “Although a year has passed quickly, we continue to be amazed by the progress we’ve made thanks to our users and supporters. We are proud to be leaders addressing equality, respect and safety in public spaces. We hope you can join us on our journey.”

The Safe & the City app is available for free download on Android and iOS. Further information can be viewed on its website Safeandthecity.comwhich also supports crowdsourcing experiences around the world.

References: *Sources: https://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/major-new-survey-many-still-unclear-what-rape-is/)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/international-womens-day-85-of-younger-women-in-the-uk-have-been-sexually-harassed-in-public-a6918566.html
https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/safety/report-it-to-stop-it