Gender diversity on streets must for women’s safety

Findings of the safety audits recommends increased security in winter

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Puja Bhattacharjee | December 22, 2014




Despite all claims and administrative measure, safety on Delhi street is far from satisfactory.

A women safety audit has found that that gender diversity on the streets has the highest impact on the feeling of safety and comfort in being out and it outranks other factors like visible security, lighting and visibility.

Two years after the brutal gangrape of a 23 year student on a moving bus in Delhi and days after the rape in an Uber cab, representatives from 54 civil society organisations including Jagori, Safetipin, CFAR, Lawyers Collective, AIPWA, Women's Feature Service, Sakha Cabs, and several eminent women like the former additional solicitor general, Indira Jaising, supreme court advocate Vrinda Grover Kavita Krishnan, Annie Raja and Pamela Philipose conducted safety audits on approximately 60 kilometres of Delhi roads.

Data on the gaps that exist in public infrastructure, social usage of public space, public transport and policing were recorded using the mobile application Safetipin.

Visibility was found to be low in all the areas audited. The report says ‘this means that there aren't enough eyes on the street - no presence of vendors, shops/doors/houses facing the street. This is a serious issue of urban design where we see high walls coming up all over the city and natural surveillance being reduced.’

The Munirka bus stop to Mahipalpur Munirka route ranked the highest on security both in terms of police at specific locations and patrolling on motorbike. But all over visible security is quite low.

Based on the findings it has been recommended that gender sensitive options for improving last mile connectivity needs to be explored, increase in the number of women drivers working in public transportation and security measures need to be scaled up in winter with more vigilant police on the beat among others.

Nearly 150 safety audit visits were conducted on December 16, 2014 between 7.30 pm and 11 pm. The audit measured eight parameters - lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, gender diversity, security, walk path and nearness to public transport.

Each group covered a designated route using three modes of transport and also walked parts of the route. In addition to this, each audit also asks the auditor to rate whether they feel safe or not in a public place. Each audit then appears as a pin on the Safetipin map which is then visible to anyone else who looks at the app. The group audited routes in North, South, East and West Delhi.

The entire report can be accessed at http://jagori.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Report-on-Safey-Audits_Dec-16FINAL.pdf

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