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Saturday, November 30, 2013

E-safety mapping initiative to fight crimes ready to roll

Proactive Mechanism To Go Live Tomorrow, Is Aimed At Improved Vigilance, Prevention


Mumbai: The sense that citizens are increasingly finding Mumbai unsafe to live in can perhaps be gauged by the number of them coming forward to combat crimes. An enterprising 23-year-old Mumbaikar is the latest to set up an online safety mapping mechanism for the city. Called Jagaran, the initiative, which will go live on Monday, is the third such citizeninitiated, crowdsourced mapping 
initiative in recent months. 
    Designed with a proactive view to prevent crime rather than react to it, Jagaran seeks to mobilize Mumbaikars to identify areas and localities where they feel unsafe and highlight the reasons that make them feel so. 
    "This information will not only help create a vigilant society but also help inform the public and authorities about both short-term and longterm measures needed to make the city safe," says Paroma Bhatta
charya, the brain behind the project. 
Bhattacharya adds she was shaken by the Delhi gang rape that took 
place last year but decided to stand up 
and do something that could contribute to change after a photojournalist 
was gang-raped in Shakti Mills, earlier this year. Crimes, after all, are only on the rise. Over 1,700 women reported some 
form of violence to the police la st year, and the numbers going unre
ported are believed to be way higher. 
    "Safety could be linked to aspects of urban planning such as broken street lights. Or a spot could be unsafe because a group of men routinely lounge around. Community watch could help highlight such discrepancies and initiate action to prevent crime before it takes place," says Bhattacharya. 
    Citizens who want to report unsafe areas can log on to http://www.socialcops.org/jagaran, select the troubled pocket and key in their reasons, be it lack of police patrol, poor street lighting or absence of security guards. The voices will be reflected on a visual map of the city. Bhattacharya also plans to petition chief minister Prithviraj Chavan with the garnered voices to ensure administrative action. A soft run has yielded 887 respondents and 876 petition signatures till date. The mapping will kickstart with Mumbai but there are plans to cover other cities in near future. 

    A similar initiative has already been put into place by women's resource centre Akshara. Called Harassmap-Mumbai, the initiative encourages Mumbaikars to offer details about the harassment they witness, the public space where an incident occurred and a profile of the offender. They also flag off unsafe zones. The swell response to Harassmap—over three Mumbaikars logging in daily—reflects the willingness of the average Mumbaikar to engage in making the city 

safe. 
CLOSING IN ON CRIME 
3 RECENT CROWDSOURCED SAFETY MAPPING INITIATIVES LAUNCHED TO COMBAT CRIME IN THE CITY 

    ABOUT JAGARAN 
Initiated by a 23-year-old, it seeks to track unsafe pockets in the city and make them secure. It goes live on Monday 
WHAT CAN YOU DO? 
    
Log on to http://www. socialcops.org/jagaran 
    Report an area/ spot which you think is unsafe and highlight the reason why you consider it so 
    Sign a petition to the chief minister seeking that action be taken to make the spot safe 

    ABOUT INDIA OYE 
(OPEN YOUR EYES) | It is an initiative by an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the police to facilitate easier lodging of complaints. It covers Chembur-Deonar and 18 police stations 

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 
Any sexual harassment can be reported with a few clicks. SMS, tweet, post on Facebook, log on www.indiaoye. org or download its mobile app. Crime shows up as a red dot on an online map. Too many dots in an area alert cops and police control room 

ABOUT HARASSMAP-MUMBAI 
It is an initiative by Akshara, a women's resource centre WHAT YOU CAN DO?Women or men can log on to https://akshara
crowdmap.com/main or SMS 9920103103 and offer details about the type of harassment witnessed, the public space where the incident occurred and a profile of the offender. They can also flag off unsafe zones or upload a photo 
WHAT HAPPENS THEN? Crimes and unsafe spots are depicted real-time on the a map of Mumbai. Akshara works with Mumbai police to increase patrolling in unsafe areas. It also provides information about support services available to women survivors of violence such as neighbourhood police stations, helplines, legal aid services and shelters 
HARASSMAP-MUMBAI PROFILES OFFENCES5 AREAS WHERE MOST COMPLAINTS SHOWED UP 
BANDRA | A young woman complained of a man flashing at a bus stop in Bandra-Kurla Complex 
A woman said she was followed on Ambedkar Road by an unknown man 
A group of friends reported they had stopped using Bandra skywalk (from Kalanagar to the railway station) after some boys stalked them routinely 
DADAR |A woman reported witnessing a visually impaired boy assaulting a visually impaired girl on platform number 2 of Dadar station 
    Another woman complained of a group of men lurking on platform 1 of Dadar station and groping women 
    A youngster complained that men took advantage of crowded Dadar railway bridge, and there wasn't a single cop around in the mornings 

ANDHERI | A young woman complained of routine harassment by men on BEST buses that cross Teli Galli A group of working professionals complained of minor girls and adult boys on the walkway towards Talao Pali who pass lewd comments & touch passersby A woman complained of a man inappropriately touching her on platform 1 at Andheri railway station 

GHATKOPAR | A teenager complained she was followed by a group of boys from SNDT College to her residence 
A collegian from Somaiya college spoke out on behalf of her friends alleging routine harassment by boys who had political affiliations 
An anonymous complainant pointed out that the subways were very dark and full of drunk people 
SANTACRUZ –KHAR | A young woman complained of a man routinely exposing himself and masturbating behind rows of school buses parked on an arterial road between Linking Road and S V Road 
    A young woman complained of men routinely inappropriately touching her around the Kalina university area (Source: Harassmap-Mumbai by women's resource centre Akshara)


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