Safety at stake

Safety at stake

Bengaluru was once known as one of the safest cities in India, especially for females. Women from all over the country would come here for educational and career opportunities. Parents too seemed assured of their children’s safety in the city. It is saddening that the scenario is not the same anymore.

Following the case of sexual assault which tool place in HAL last week in a ladies’ Paying Guest (PG) accommodation, there is an air of fear among women staying alone in the city. Many of them feel that adequate security measures should be put in place by the owners.

“When I choose a place to stay, the most important thing that I focus on is the area it is located in. Even if the PG is good, I never compromise on the surroundings.

I have chosen a place where the owners stay in the same building; this inspires confidence in me,” says Darshana Baruah, HR counsellor and behavioural psychologist.

She says that her PG has CCTV cameras and the owner monitors everything that is happening in the building. She adds that though there are a lot of PGs in the same area, most of the times there is only a caretaker to look after the building and the tenants. “Offenders usually keep a watch on who is staying where and with whom.

But even in a heavily guarded area, women are not absolutely safe. The wise thing to do is to be alert at all times,” she adds.

Olivia Phoebe, a content writer who stays in a PG in Indiranagar, says she feels safe in the area she stays in as it is on 100ft road. “We have a biometric system that regulates access to the PG. There are also CCTV cameras that track people entering or leaving the PG,” she says.

But she notes that Bengaluru has generally become unsafe for women. “One cause for concern for us is that the other houses are too close to our building and people tend to sit on their balconies and peep through the windows. So I and the other inmates always keep the curtains drawn,” Olivia says.

Janhavi Pathak, a communication professional, says that though she stays in a crowded market area, the streets get lonely in the evenings making her scared to walk alone. However, her PG has adequate security facilities like security guards and CCTV cameras. “My neighbours are also pretty approachable and we also have a rule which makes it mandatory for us to keep the owners informed if we are coming in late.”

Pointing out another facet of the problem, Darshana says a lot of PGs, especially in the Maruthi Nagar and Tavarekare area, are not registered. “Anybody can enter these accommodations, there is no one to keep a watch. Authentication and regulation of PGs is a must to ensure that no untoward incidents happen.”

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