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WalkSafe App

WalkSafe app reveals areas where people feel most unsafe in Surrey and as a result the app has seen a huge rise in downloads recently!

A mobile app called WalkSafe is able to show users the places reported as the most dangerous to walk home in Surrey by mapping out reported crimes.

 

The app has increased in popularity in recent weeks since the tragic disappearance and death of Sarah Everard, which has led to major discussions surrounding gender violence in the UK. Before the incident, the app only had 2,000 downloads, but this has now risen to hundreds of thousands in the past two weeks or so.

Walksafe allows users to view how many crimes have been reported in a specific area by mapping them out. The app tracks the location of the user and scans the road ahead to alert them of any reported crimes. It uses crime reports published monthly by police, including knife attacks, sexual assaults and muggings.

The app shows how many people have reported the incidents in that area and when they were last reported. These include when someone has felt ‘unsafe’. It also shows other details including ‘police’, ‘people walking’, ‘drunks’, ‘no streetlights’, and ‘rowdy groups’, which are all grouped in different coloured dots. Users of the app can send a report directly from their phone in a matter of seconds by selecting one of the coloured dots.

The apps’ developers say over 95% of the reports are police crime data that is accurate and verified. Although users can make their own reports directly, these must be verified by multiple users within six hours or they will be removed.

The app has a ‘HomeSafe’ feature that automatically notifies a family member, friend or partner if the user does not get home by a specific time. Similarly, the ‘TapSafe’ feature also notifies loved ones. As soon as the user opens the feature, someone from their contacts is notified and if something goes wrong and they stop tapping their phone, the other person is alerted and shown their current location.

The most popular reported incidents on the app in Surrey are violence / sexual assault.

Commenting on the app, Surrey Police said they “want people to be safe and feel safe in their local communities, whether at home or out and about.” They added: “Being aware of your surroundings can play an important part in keeping yourself safe. While we acknowledge that being prepared and planning your journey is also another way of keeping yourself safe, we need to have a better understanding of how this app collects and collates data to ensure that it is providing people with accurate information to enable them to make informed choices.”

They also advised to visit the Surrey Police website for tips on staying safe on the streets.

Data has been collected for some of the towns that have the most reports including Guildford, Woking, Walton, Hersham, Sunbury Egham, Addlestone and Staines. There are more streets where only one or two people have reported crimes, and this is constantly updating on the map.

 

The app is available for download here.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash