Safetipin: Building a world where everyone can move without fear

Caption: The team at Safetipin 

by Geetika Sharma for the Safetipin team

Feeling safe and secure in the city is a fundamental right that every citizen should be entitled to. Freedom of accessing and using public spaces freely enables everyone, especially women, to truly enjoy their “Right to the City”. However, in today’s world, there are too many safety-related incidents and tragedies impacting women’s overall well-being. Women perceive safety differently from men and this perception of safety plays a significant role in the extent to which women participate in public life. Fear of sexual violence can lead to restrictions on women’s mobility by themselves or others in their family.

This is where a social-enterprise and a technology platform like Safetipin comes in. Founded in 2013, Safetipin is a mobile application that aims to create safer communities by empowering individuals and communities to take action towards improving safety in public spaces. Ashish Basu and Kalpana Viswanath, the founder duo came up with this innovative app to give people a way to engage with their neighborhood and communities on issues of safety and mobility. The choice of the name of the app comes from the importance of safety pins in the everyday lives of women. In India, women have traditionally used the safety pin as both a placeholder for the sari but also a self- defense weapon against street harassment, stalking, and bullying, especially in crowded public places. A jab in the flesh with a safety pin is often an effective deterrent to the roving hand.

Providing data on how to make cities safer, Safetipin offers three tools. First, it offers apps to gather and present data usable for everyone. The My Safetipin app, a free crowdsourced application is a democratic tool that enables users to share their safety concerns while navigating through the city. The app provides user-generated data for all its users to interact with, and one of its key features is the safety audit, which allows users to evaluate the safety of their surroundings based on predefined parameters such as lighting, walk path, public transport, presence of people especially women and children. The audit generates a safety score that can be used to identify areas that require improvement, and the evidence -based, ground-up data generated by these audits can be used by local authorities and community organizations to develop targeted interventions aimed at improving safety.

Safetipin also offers two additional tools: Safetipin Nite, which collects photographs at night-time to analyze lighting, pavements, and other features in the city, and Safetipin Site, a location-specific customizable tool for carrying out detailed assessment at public spaces- bus stops, train stations, public toilets, parks, etc. on safety and accessibility related parameters.

Caption: Kalpana Viswanath, Safetipin’s Co-Founder and CEO

Over ten years, Safetipin has worked across 50 Indian cities and 29 cities globally with renowned partners such as UN Women, UNICEF, UN Habitat, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, CAF Latin America, Womanity, Fondation Botnar, and The Asia Foundation. With over 400,000 safety audits conducted, 80 partnerships, and a community of over 100,000 users, Safetipin’s geo-tagged data has been used as evidence to inform decision-making and prioritize intervention areas for improvements in the physical and social infrastructure in cities.

Safetipin has constantly evolved and strives to expand its reach. Its latest “Nearby” feature provides users with valuable information on the safety of public spaces in their neighborhood, and its #sheRISES knowledge framework aims to create responsive, inclusive, safe, and equitable spaces and cities. Safetipin’s mission is to create safer communities by empowering individuals and communities to take actions towards improving safety. Fore more information about Safetipin and its tools, please visit their website at

About the organization

Safetipin is a social enterprise that empowers women, particularly those from excluded and vulnerable communities, by providing them with technology and data to enhance safety and inclusivity in cities and public spaces. The organization collaborates with various urban stakeholders, including governments, to achieve this goal.

Image credits: Safetipin