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Technology for women

How apps can improve street safety

Several apps have been launched recently with the main goal of making the streets safer for women. Such services allow a couple of clicks to launch the panic button, inform relatives and friends that the user is in danger, or broadcast video from the scene.

According to surveys, many women feel uncomfortable walking alone down the street late at night. So, according to a survey conducted by the British Office for National Statistics, almost half of women feel discomfort in the dark on the street, 81% - if they have to walk through a park or open space. Technology comes to the rescue here - several applications have already been developed that help make such walks safer.

Appendix WalkSafewas launched in March this year. Among other things, it allows you to draw up a safer route in the dark - on a map on which, in particular, the sites of recent attacks and other crimes are loaded. WalkSafe has the ability to set a specific time for returning home - and if a person does not inform in time that he is there, his relatives and friends marked in the application will receive a notification. Another option is that a person opens an application on the way home and periodically presses a button in it. If something went wrong and he stopped doing it, the application sends an alarm signal to his loved ones, at the same time informing them of the location of the person. WalkSafe plans to launch another feature next year - selected people will be able to track the movements of a user with a running application on a map.

WalkSafe founder Emma Kaye says that she started thinking about building an app after being harassed several times on the street.

“Of course, we would like it to be unnecessary. Nobody wants to live in a world that needs a security app, but unfortunately they do, ”says Ms. Kay.

According to her, former police officers and criminal analysts collaborate with the service - they help to draw up maps of the safest routes, analyze crime scenes, etc. Since the launch of WalkSafe, it has been downloaded more than 560 thousand times.

Another technological development of this kind is the Epowar smartwatch app , created by scientists from the British University of Bath. This application works on a slightly different principle - it monitors body position and heart rate and recognizes that a person is in trouble - for example, running away from pursuers, fighting them off, etc.

One of the developers of Epowar, student E.-J. Rudt said the idea came to her while she was running in a dimly lit park and pondering the possibility of an attack there.

“When I learned that smartwatches are being used to detect heart attacks, I thought maybe this technology could be used to keep women safe,” she says. there will be time (or very little) to prevent this - which is not always possible with ordinary panic buttons or just a mobile phone. "

The bSafe app combines a panic button and the ability to record an attack on a video. The user can turn on the function of the panic button with a voice command - and after that the application starts recording a video of what is happening, simultaneously saving it and sending it in real time to the selected contacts. “These tapes can be used as evidence in court in cases such as rape, which are often difficult to prove,” says bSafe founder Rich Larsen. According to him, the rape of his daughter Charlene prompted him to create the application, among other things.

There are other applications of this kind. For example, Shake2Safety . If it is running, you can sound an alarm or start recording a video by shaking the phone or pressing the power button several times. Another application Safe And The City also combines several of the already listed functions: it allows you to send an alarm with one click, mark the place where you were attacked on the map, and also see a map of places in the city where you can hide in case of pursuit.

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