10 September, 2021
Almost two thirds of women and a third of men in Britain say they feel unsafe walking alone after dark. Can new smart technology help us stay safe in the city?
Common street navigation apps such as Google Maps offer efficient routes to get from A to B. However, they do not consider the safety of routes for those walking alone or at night, simply offering the shortest option. After experiencing harassment down a narrow alley one evening, Jillian Kowalchuk decided to act, founding a street-smart app to safely navigate around cities.
Safe & The City uses police data and feedback from the app itself to alert users in advance before they approach intersections with a patterned history of crime. It combines this with crowdsourced information on underreported experiences, like sexual harassment, as well as factors such as street lighting and how many shops are open to determine the safest routes. The app also acts as a kind of hybrid. Not only does it aim to prevent incidences, but if Emergency Services are required there is a simple two click access to quickly contact the appropriate Service.
Kowalchuk is now focussed on engaging the community, businesses and different stakeholders to get more data and further develop the app into a functional, everyday tool capable of making a real impact. As technology and society continue to evolve, we need more of these ‘smart’ solutions that are diverse and representative of the people, problems and perspectives we aim to change.
The app is currently available in every UK city and for Berlin, Germany. Download it today and help make everyone’s right to keep safe a reality!
By Chris Perera