Safetipin is a mobile app and technology platform that collects and disseminates information and data about safety
issues in a city. Data is generated through our two apps - My Safetipin which is a platform for citizen engagement
and user generated data. The second app Safetipin Nite collects pictures of the city through a vehicle. We use the
tool of the safety audit which identifies specific parameters that make a city feel unsafe for women and girls in particular.
Background and Objective
Situation Before the Initiative Began:
Safety in public spaces in cities is a big problem in cities around the world, particularly developing countries and in
India where this initiative began. Women are particularly vulnerable to violence and fear and this prevents their
equal participation in urban life. Crime rates have been rising.
Establishment of Priorities:
The priority was to enhance women's mobility and participation in cities through addressing the factors that caused
insecurity and fear. There was growing evidence through research, as well as media and cases of the nature and
extent of urban violence that women faced. We consulted with NGO's in India as well as with global experts on
violence and insecurity in cities, particularly for women. Based on all this evidence, the initiative focussed on
women's right to the city with the belief that addressing vulnerable groups will enhance safety for all.
Formulation of Objectives And Strategies:
The main objective of the initiative was to enhance urban safety with a focus on women and girls. We built a
technology platform using an app for citizens to engage with in order to make it participatory as well as widely
available. The tool uses the methodology of the safety audit as a way of assessing public spaces from the point of
view of users in order to generate data that is shared with urban stakeholders to prioritise actions to make cities
safer. We work with several city authorities and governments in India as well as in developing countries.
Mobilisation of Resources:
We got our initial financial support from DFID to help us develop the app, test it , conduct some pilots and then work
towards scaling up. DFID supported for almost three years to take forward the initiative. We have also received support from foundations including Ford Foundation, The Asia Foundation and David and Lucile Packard
Since 2015, we have also received support from the UN. We were awarded a grant from Cities Alliance as part of
the Catalytic Fund to give data and technical support to New Delhi, Nairobi and Bogota city governments. UN
Women has supported us in several cities to give technical support to city governments including New Delhi and
Bhopal in India, and Manila.
We have worked closely with women's groups in 10 Indian cities to strengthen their work on reducing violence
through our app and technical support. We supported them financially in this endeavour.
Currently we are working directly with city governments to provide them with technology support.
We have a partnership with Uber globally to help us collect data about public spaces through our app Safetipin Nite
which takes Night time pictures of the city for us to analyse.
Actions and Implementation
The initiative is focused on collecting data for two purposes - to help individual citizens make safer decision and
secondly city governments and authorities to help them improve urban safety. We have two apps and a technology
platform for data analysis and data visualisation. We use these to provide data and technical support on using the
data to urban stakeholders , government and civil society. Initially we began data collection only through crowd d
sourcing but soon realised that we we needed to supplement this with more robust data and therefore we built our
Safetipin Nite app. Through these two methods we have collected data in 30 cities in India and globally.We have
over 70,000 downloads of the app and constantly interact with users. Further we have worked closely with university
students and youth to collect data in many cities including NewDelhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune in India and
Nairobi, Jakarta and Manila.
We work very closely with NGO's and women's groups who work at the grassroot level in low income
neighborhoods . Through these effort we are able to ensure that the most vulnerable groups also have access to
the technology and are able to share their voices and concerns. We have conducted over 100 sessions in low
income neighborhoods with women and youth in partnership with NGO's. the data collected has been used by them
for advocacy to improve their neighborhoods and address safety concerns. Young women especially have
participated in large numbers. The data has been used to effect several kinds of responses. In Delhi it has led to
improvement of dark spots around the city; in Bhopal it led to addressing safety and infrastructure along the bus
corridor; in Bogota, the city administration have placed CCTV cameras at vulnerable spots pointed out by the
We assess performance through measuring usage of our app which are available through app analytics. this we
measure on a weekly basis. We also assess through how urban stakeholders use the data for advocacy of
programming. This is a measurement of our outreach, partnership building and usefulness of data for improving
conditions of safety.
Outcomes and Impacts
The financial resources till date have primarily been grants or payment for services. We are currently working with
several city administrations and are looking to cost our services to ensure sustainability. We have collaborations
with several Indian city administrations including Delhi, Bhopal, Guwahati and are in conversation with several other smart cities. We are providing a solution that smart cities can use to address both safety and security as well as
expanding public spaces. We are also collaborating with UN Women, UN Habitat and UNICEF to provide technical
expertise to cities. We believe this will be a sustainable model of working.
The primary focus of the initiative is gender and social inclusion and safety in public spaces in cities. We have
ensured that women and girls remain at the centre of all the work done and their voices are given prominence.
The solution we are offering addresses both SDG 5 as well as SDG 11 in terms of making public spaces safer,
enhancing mobility of women and others. The parameters that the technology measures through its apps are
working towards supporting cities with an efficient and ongoing method of data collection that is able to both get
citizen voices through crowdsourcing as well as use technology to collect reliable city wide data based on
photographs. We believe that this methodology can be used to measure many different parameters in public spaces
and is a very low cost solution for cities. Making cities safer and accessible for all improves its walkability and
bikeability and there fore improve pollution and congestion that plague most of the cities in the developing world.
The move towards non- motorised transport is promoted by improving safety as well.
Gender and Social Inclusivity
We began the initiative in Delhi and have subsequently transferred it to other cities in India as well as to Bogota,
Colombia and Nairobi, Kenya. In this effort we had the support of UN Habitat Safer Cities program. In both of these
cities, the data has been used in innovative ways by the local government. In Nairobi, the City County has used the
data collected in Eastleigh neighborhood as an opportunity to engage with the local community and understand their
safety and public space concerns in order to plan the space better. They used the input from Safetipin and
community meetings to redesign the market and the street, including improvement of lighting. In Bogota, the
methodology of Safetipin NIte using moving cars, was transferred to bicycles in order to audit the bike path across
the city. This was then used to determine how to make the path safer, as well where to install CCTV cameras. It is
also being used in Quezon City, Manila in partnership with ABD, UN Women and the Quezon administration.
We have a collaboration with Uber globally who help us collect data through using SafetipinNite on their taxis.
Safetipin is an innovative one-of-a-kind technology and the entire 3.5 years has been a learning process. We built
an app to collect data primariy through crowdsourcing, but learnt very early on that crowdsourcing is limited. Also
when we approached city governments we found they didn't find it robust enough. Our response was to build a
second app with a novel method of data collection using photographs. When we approached city administrations
with both sets of data, they were more willing to use it, as it was both robust and had voices of people.
We were challenged initially on how to reach the benefits of Safetipin to people and neighborhoods that are low
income in order to bridge the digital divide. We came up with a couple of methods combining online as well as
offline methods of data collection and community interactions and working directly with NGO's in order to have an
impact in low income neighborhoods. It was a very interesting approach as we found that people in low income
neighborhoods learnt the technology very fast and understood its benefit and potential. This was very heartening
and we have expanded to many more neighborhoods.
One of the problems with any smart phone technology is the usage and availability of networks (2G, 3G or 4G)
which can be quite a challenge in many places. Sometimes it is expensive for people to use. This feedback
prompted us to find a solution for the usage of some features of My Safetipin app on an offline mode. This has
greatly benefited users.
Resources devoted to delivery
Pocket aids keep you
safe in dark alleys, at
- 21-08-2017 -
Rate the city safe
- 03-08-17 -
Not sure which
streets are safe? This
app will guide you
Rappler - 17-06-2017 -
Need to make public
transport in Delhi
- 14-06-2017 -
How mobile apps are
making cities safer for
Devex - 15-03-2017 -
harassment – an
appraisal of safe cities
global initiative in
of safe cities
1465-3869 20-12-2016 9
Apps to make women
Shruti Jain Techcircle - 14-10-16 -
This practice has been supported by the Smart Cities mission that has been launched in India and currently there
are 98 smart cities in the list. Safetipin can support several of the features that are being developed by smart cities
including safety, walkability, preserving and developing open spaces, promoting mixed use of land, improving last
and first mile connectivity. Safetipin specifically addresses all these urban challenges and aims to provide data for
cities to use in order to prioritise as well as plan better.