Apps and a website that promise to keep you safe in the country
A new app called SketchFactor has been making headlines (and raising eyebrows) since it was launched last month. While developers Alison McGuire and Daniel Herrington claim it helps alert users to stay away from ‘sketchy areas’— based on user feedback— concerns have been raised over its racial undertones (sketchy equals black). But we think the app’s highlight—profiling routes based on parameters such as low lighting and incidents of harassment—is worth the criticism (details: sketchfactor.com). As we root for its services moving beyond New York, we look at similar apps.
Nribhaya — Be Fearless: Pune-based Smartcloud Infotech has recently added a new feature. City Safety Heat Maps help you keep an eye out for unsafe areas—with a high incidence of eve teasing to poor lighting and even an absence of policemen. Users can ‘stamp’ places as green or red depending on their experience.
BeSafe: Currently covering Paris, London and New York, this iOS app helps locals and tourists identify unsafe neighbourhoods. It will first geolocate you using your phone settings and then shows you on a map, with its Risk-o-meter, how safe the surrounding areas are at different times of the day or even where pickpockets lurk. At $0.99, an upgrade ($1.99) will give you more precise details on gangs and crimes.
Whypoll.org: Though not new, the couple of years it’s been around has made this website even 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.
—Surya Praphulla Kumar