‘Many public places unsafe for women’

women safety app

Many women across the Capital perceive public places as unsafe due to the absence of other women, followed by lack of lighting and last-mile connectivity when using public transport and lesser “eyes on the street”, says a recent audit by prominent NGO Jagori.

A cause for concern, the audit — which was based on the perception of safety in relation to nine different parameters including lighting, the state of walk paths and presence of people, specifically women, on the streets — found prominent stretches in Central and South Delhi to be “unsafe”. Among these are Man Singh Road, Pandara Road, Bhishma Pitamah Marg, Moolchand Flyover and the Vasant Kunj-Mehrauli Road. Conducted through Safetipin, a map-based online and mobile phone application that seeks to make communities and cities safer by collecting and disseminating safety-related information through crowd sourcing and physical audits, Jagori’s representatives presented their latest findings to the Delhi Police top-brass, including Commissioner B.S. Bassi at an open session here on Friday.

Women’s rights activist and former head of Jagori, Kalpana Vishwanath, said the report had also been shared with the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD), the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Transport Department, apart from the centrally-administered Urban Development Ministry. According to Ms. Vishwanath, as many as 14,726 safety audits had been conducted by Jagori in Delhi beginning from September, 2013. These covered 1,924 locations leading to the recording of 476 “hazards” and 86 incidents of harassment.

The audit posited that walk paths across Delhi scored above average in terms of a perception of safety while light, openness, visibility, crowd and public transport all have average scores. Security scored the lowest of all the audit parameters, followed by gender usage.

“Visible security, both public and private, is poor in the city and few women are present in public spaces, especially after dark. While there is not a significant difference among the regions, the Central part of Delhi scores higher in several parameters,” said Ms. Vishwanath.

While North Delhi also scored higher in some parameters, West Delhi scored the lowest in all parameters except gender usage where, ironically, South Delhi had a very low score. Another finding, that of the perception of being unsafe when commuting via public transport due to lack of last-mile connectivity, which the Delhi government too is in agreement with, was revealed through the audit. This even as several modes of public transport, such as e-rickshaws and grameen sewa vehicles were found unsafe by most respondents, according to Rashee Mehra, who co-authored a report on the audit with Ms. Vishwanath.

The bus terminal at Nehru Place scored the lowest among the six terminals audited owing to lack of proper lighting, lack of openness and virtually no security. On the other hand, terminals at Uttam Nagar, Shivaji Stadium and Azadpur scored higher mostly because of a “gender-balanced crowd”.

While Ms. Vishwanath submitted that the police needed to do more to add to a sense of safety for Delhi’s women, Mr. Bassi said his force was already in the process of doing so through extra deployment, in addition to relying on making more and more women “fight-ready” through emphasis on self defence training.

An audit conducted by NGO Jagori, based on perception of safety, has found that many prominent stretches in Central and South Delhi are seen as “unsafe

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