Safety at stake

Lonely road

Safety at stake

The increasing number of untoward incidents against women in the city have been disturbing.

After the alleged mass molestation that occurred on New Year’s eve, the latest attack on an air hostess by a biker came as a shocker.

Many women say that they are apprehensive about stepping outdoors in the night and  point out that such occurrences are evoking fear especially among those who work in night shifts.

 Sowmya Prakash, an executive administrator who lives on Magadi Road, says that she doesn’t venture out much at night and certainly not now. “Things are becoming increasingly unsafe for women. Though I live in a city which was known for its cool attitude, I make it a point to go out with a group of friends only. Also, I take extra measures to inform my parents and other friends on my whereabouts,” says Sowmya.

She wants frequent patrolling in the interior roads and more CCTV cameras in such places. “Only this can create a fear factor among miscreants,” adds Sowmya.

Rajeetha K S, a call centre executive, says that while the city claims to be safe when compared to other cities in the country,  lack of infrastructure often adds to the problem. “Lack of streetlights and absence of night patrolling are enough for these miscreants to step out and commit unforgiveable acts,” she says.

She wants the Bengaluru City Police to be more receptive to people’s problems.
“Sensitisation programmes need to be organised for these officials too so that they know how to deal with victims who come to file complaints,” she says.

Though many organisations have transport facilities for their employees at night, going out for something personal has to be at one’s own risk.

Elizabeth Sandra Ravi, a nurse-in-charge, who stays in Yelahanka, points out how there are no CCTV cameras in her area. “It would be a good step if they are installed. Women will feel safer if they know that someone is watching,” she says adding that people don’t always respond if one calls out for help.

“I have been living in this area for several years and people will help me if something goes wrong or a stranger approaches me. But this might not be the case if someone who is unfamiliar calls out for help,” says Elizabeth.

Many try to stay away from quarrels or untoward incidents as they are unsure if it is a domestic issue or not, she adds.

Hiring cabs late night can be a tricky affair, feels Kasturi Nath, a software engineer, who stays in Banaswadi.

“Many of us hire cabs on our own and travel during the late evenings. It is important that one follows certain steps like sharing all the details of the cab and the driver with family. I also make sure to call my family when I enter a cab,” she says.

When hiring a cab, Kasturi makes sure she sits right behind the driver so that she can be defensive if occasion demands. “Learning basic self-defence techniques can help one become more alert,” she adds.

Bendict Nancy, a guest relation executive, who stays in Amrathahalli, narrates that there have been incidents of intoxicated men approaching her on the road.
“Thankfully, there were people around and I was safe. But not everyone is always that lucky,” she says. “Though one can avoid certain situations, they can’t always be foreseen. This is when people need to come together as a community and take steps to create a safer space for women. Concepts like ‘neighbourhood watch programmes’ should be implemented in all localities, which will help create awareness and encourage the authorities to be at their vigilant best,” she adds.

There are many who are apprehensive of filing a complaint after being subjected to an untoward incident for fear of harassment and shame.

“This is where we step in — by providing moral support and explaining how filing a case could help them and their near and dear ones as well as others,” explains Rani Shetty, in charge of ‘Vanitha Sahayavani’.

She adds that one should be vigilant and take precautions themselves as someone may not always be around.

“We do receive distress calls which are forwarded to the concerned law officials. All women should muster enough courage and speak out when something bad happens. This will only help the authorities get hold of the perpetrators faster,” she says.

Asked whether enough night patrolling is in place, Ajay Hilori, DCP (East), says that safety measures are at their best. There is continuous night patrolling and CCTV cameras across the city, according to him.

He elaborates, “The ‘Dial 100’ facility is well-connected to Hoysalas across the city. When a distress call is made, the Hoysalas are able to reach the person within five minutes. There are around 225 Hoysalas connected to the system. Additionally, the same information is passed on to a control room nearest to where the call has been made from.” 

He also assures that apart from the existing CCTV cameras, around 2,000 more cameras will be installed in the city.

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