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Why personal safety measures are critical in the age of cab aggregators

Why personal safety measures are critical in the age of cab aggregators
EntertainmentEntertainment3 min read
Few months back, there was an incident in Delhi, where a female passenger was harassed by a cab driver throughout her ride in central and south Delhi and it took four SOS calls from her before help reached her. It wasn’t about lack of intent that led to the delay but inability to get her exact location and bring it to attention of the cops.

Thankfully, in this case, the girl was finally rescued and the cab driver and owner were, according to the news reports, charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 506 (criminal intimidation), 354 (assault of woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 342 (wrongful confinement) and Sections 323 and 324 (causing hurt by dangerous means).

The reality is that majority of the citizens; women in particular, feel unsafe using public transport in Delhi. With changing mindsets, and a push for citizens to adopt means such as cab aggregators, ride sharing, and car-pooling for their commutes, the need for personal safety measures for women get amplified.

Poor personal safety for women in public areas is a problem. A recent survey by Breakthrough, a global human rights organization, revealed that sexual harassment in public spaces was an everyday occurrence for more than 90% of women and girls.

According to a 2013 UN study, 99 percent of women in countries such as Egypt say they’ve been harassed, and much of this physical and verbal harassment happens on public transport.

While efficiency and convenience have been well factored into ride sharing and car-pooling efforts, the efforts by car aggregators on security concerns of sharing ride with strangers have still not been addressed comprehensively and firmly.

Steps towards a reliable safety and security system

From our experience, the need of the hour is a prompt, reliable and fool-proof safety and security assistance, which is beyond simply raising an alarm.
Providing this service is not rocket science but it requires connectivity, a strong tech-backed, trustworthy and capable service.

While it may be true that nearly of the half the crimes are solved by police authorities in NCR and the criminals are brought to books, it may be in some cases the crime could have been averted, if the affected party had access to prompt action and someone who could help.

There are private enterprises that have risen on occasions and are attempting to fill the gap.

Thanks to smartphones, there are a lot of apps that act as an alerting mechanism to family members when one’s security and safety is under threat.

These are great communication mechanisms but in times of panic, the best of us may lose judgment of what may be the right thing to do. At such a time, we need the assistance of someone trained, who is well versed in handling a broad range of threatening situations, from fire-fighting to providing CPR to dispersing mobs to being well versed in combat situations, or as the situation demands. Loved ones though alerted may be ill-equipped to handle these situations.

We go through crisis on a daily basis and if a personal safety and immediate assistance service can make a difference to even one life, it would inevitably create goodwill and help in change the perspective on personal safety and security.

Start with the basics. There should be an ease of reach through an app or a helpline, an embedded GPS that would help determine the victim’s location (again something that was amiss in the incident cited above).

A command and control center, which is able to guide callers until live help in the form of a trained responders team reaches, can also be of great help. It is also important to partner them with government authorities, police, hospitals that are able to help in such situations. Companies such as One Touch Response (OTR) have already done this in past to provide much-needed service to the citizens of Delhi-NCR.

(This article has been written by Manoj Chandra, CEO, One Touch Response)

(Image: Indiatimes)