Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Safety in the city is now a click away

A few know the existence of the State Police’s Pratisaad app, but cops and citizens say it works well in emergencies

The recent incident in which a 35-year-old woman had a harrowing experience in an autorickshaw when the allegedly drunk driver went on a frenzied run on spotting traffic police constables in Kharghar, has reiterated the need for citizens to be aware and use emergency measures at their disposal.
One such measure is the Maharashtra police’s free mobile safety app, which police have urged citizens to download. Dilip Kale, Senior Police Inspector, Kharghar police station, said that in the incident that occurred on February 9, the police had difficulty locating the errant driver as the passenger was unable to reveal the exact location of the alleged offence. “For a victim, it is of utmost importance to mention the location to his near and dear ones and to the police. Timely help is possible if citizens, especially the women, download the free mobile application to enable the police control room to locate the victim through GPS and provide distress assistance,” said Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner, Hemant Nagrale.
The app, ‘Pratisaad (ASK)’, enables speedy dispatch of police services to the victims in emergency situations. On using the app, the person in need can get police assistance within the minimum possible time, said Rajendra Singh, Additional Director General of Police (Provisions), Maharashtra State.
Since its launch on June 15, 2016, around 1 lakh citizens all over the State have downloaded the app, with over 8,000 requests generated and addressed by various police personnel. As per Navi Mumbai Crime Branch statistics, between January 1 and December 17, 2016, 4,608 crimes were registered in the satellite city, as against 5,231 crimes in the same period in 2015. However, rape cases registered with the police went up to 135 from 100 in 2015.
The application has solved the problem of fake, blank or missed calls on the emergency telephone number. “It has also brought in a lot of transparency into the system, providing real-time updates to the victim about the request generated. More importantly, it has empowered the citizen to report incidents without any external pressure. This system may reduce crimes against women, the elderly and law-abiding citizens,” said AP Shaikh, PSI ADGP (Provision), Mumbai.
Citizens who have downloaded the app too suggest everyone should use it for increased safety. “My husband has a travelling job and I have to stay alone with my kids. I downloaded the app and tested it to know its effectiveness. I was amazed at the immediate response from the police control room as well as from my husband and brother, whom I have added in the list. Through the app they were aware of my location as well. This has given me confidence and I feel safe. I strongly urge all residents, especially women and those who have to travel late or are staying alone to download the app,” says Samidha Urankar, a resident of Old Panvel.
Riya Valanju, a Class X student and resident of Kamothe too says the app works well. “I used the app for a personal reason and the response from police was very quick. I appreciate the way they solved my issue and responded to my fervent call so quickly. I feel all women should download it for safety reasons,” she says.
Uma Vaidyanathan, a Belapur resident, says the app ought to be a priority. “I have made sure my daughter has the app. If we can download various other apps then why not the ones that give us security?,” she says.

Source: THE HINDU-3rd March,2017