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Apps and a website that promise to keep you safe on your travels

A new app called SketchFactor has been A�making headlines ever since it was launched last month. While developers Alison McGuire and Daniel Herrington claim it helps alert users to stay away from a�?sketchy areasa��a��based on user feedbacka��concerns have been raised over its racial undertones (sketchy equals black). But we think the appa��s highlighta��profiling routes based on parameters such as low lighting and incidents of harassmenta��is worth the criticism (sketchfactor.com). As we root for its services moving beyond New York, we look at similar apps.

Nirbhaya – Be Fearless: Pune-based Smartcloud Infotech, which adopted the now unforgettable name Nirbhaya for its safety app, recently added a new feature. City Safety Heat Maps help you keep an eye out for unsafe areasa��from a high incidence of eve teasing to poor lighting and even an absence of policemen. Users are encouraged to a�?stampa�� places as green or red depending on their experience. Available for iOS and Android.
Details: nirbhaya.mobi

BeSafe: Currently covering Paris, London and New York, this app helps you identify unsafe neighbourhoods. After geolocating you using your phonea��s settings, it will show youa��on a map, with its Risk-o-metera��how safe the surrounding areas are at different times of the day. It also alerts you to places you need to avoida��like the favourite haunts of pickpockets. At $0.99. An upgrade ($1.99) will give you better neighbourhood divisions and information on gangs and crimes. Available for iOS. Details: besafe-app.com/EN
Whypoll.org: Though not new, the couple of years ita��s been around has made this website better equipped to tell you which parts of Delhi are unsafe. User inputs, data from its app, Fight Back, and their platform for women to report harassment has helped it constantly update its mapping. Details: whypoll.org
a��Surya Praphulla Kumar