MARCH 14, 2021 - Tel Aviv-Yafo Launches App to Strengthen Women's Sense of Security in Public

SafeUP is not just an app, but also a community of women for women, working to ensure that women feel safe in public.

Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality Launches App to Strengthen Women's Sense of Security in Public

Tel Aviv-Yafo, March 14 – Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality is launching an innovative smartphone app to strengthen the sense of security of women and girls in public spaces.

Following a successful three-month soft launch, SafeUP will now be available to all female residents of Tel Aviv-Yafo. The app aims to enhance their wellbeing and safety by creating a citywide network of local communities of women.

The SafeUP app was developed at CityZone, a living smart city laboratory at Tel Aviv's Atidim Park. The innovation hub is an initiative of Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality and Tel Aviv University to advance technological solutions to urban challenges and promote smart city start-ups.

The app is based on advanced social network technology, ensuring that information is secure and anonymous. The project was established in Tel Aviv-Yafo with the objective of adapting the public spaces in the city to ensure that everyone feels safe and protected in every location, and at every time of day or night. The vision is to enable female residents to feel free and safe, knowing that there are always other women looking after them, and are immediately available if required.

SafeUP is available 24/7 to users and enables women to use the app when they encounter any real or potential danger, and require support, guidance, or physical assistance. A helping hand is provided by a system of nearby "guardians" who, due to their widespread distribution across communities, can offer a speedy and effective solution. Dozens of specially trained women are available to assist where necessary via telephone, video, or by personal accompaniment.

At any given moment, any member of the SafeUP community who feels unsafe can make a call via the application and women nearby will receive a notification, enabling them to reach out and assist in real-time. The app will significantly shorten response times and assist women, even in cases where there is no need for police intervention.

The app offers three solutions to users:
• "Walk and talk": Designed for situations in which the user feels uncomfortable or insecure, and seeks support through a phone conversation with a community member who will accompany them from afar.
• "Help now": Designed for situations in which the user finds herself in real and immediate danger. The app will connect the user via video to three women within 500 meters, who will evaluate the situation and decide whether to arrive at the scene or to call the police.
• "Share location": The app shares a live location with a list of women previously chosen by the user.

The app promises to strengthen the sense of security of women in public, enhance a feeling of belonging and solidarity between women in the city, and assist the municipality and other local authorities to identify vulnerabilities, hazards, missing infrastructure, and areas and times where there are repeated calls for assistance.

Every woman or girl wishing to join SafeUP will undergo an in-depth verification process to confirm the authenticity of user profiles and ensure that app users are able to access a safe space. The app protects the privacy of users and nearby "guardians" undergo a training process to ensure that they provide professional assistance in changing scenarios and circumstances.

SafeUP is not just an app, but also a community of women for women, working to ensure that women feel safe in public.

Neta Schreiber, CEO & co-founder of SafeUP, decided to found the company following an incident approximately nine years ago. At a luxurious villa party – a seemingly safe location – one of her friends had gone missing. They began looking for her around the villa and found her half-naked, fighting off several men who immediately fled the scene. Had it not been for the vigilance of her friends, the incident could have ended differently.

Today, as a mother, Schreiber calls on additional women to be part of the guardian community, "to enable me, you, our daughters and every woman to feel safe in every place: to walk down a dark alleyway without fear; to go on a date without anxiety and a rescue plan; to go dancing in a nightclub, or even to simply go on a walk late at night."

Efrat Makin-Knafo, Head of the Resilience & Social Equality Authority and mayoral advisor for gender equality at Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality: "The launch of SafeUP is another step in the municipality's wide-ranging initiatives to promote gender equality in general, and to advance the personal security of women in particular. We are using all the tools at our disposal so that every woman in Tel Aviv-Yafo will feel that the public space is adapted for her – from personal security to sports, recreation and leisure facilities. This is a strategic goal and its realization will be reflected in many sectors across the city."

Gaby Kaminsky, Managing Director of CityZone: "The smart city vision that we are advancing at our innovation lab at Tel Aviv's Atidim Park does not only deal with sensors and cameras. A smart city is one in which it feels safe to live, to work and spend time, and is safe for everyone. The SafeUP app perfectly demonstrates how a community can take the initiative and improve life through mutual guarantees with the support of the municipality. We expect that the data which will be gathered through use of the system – which are unavailable to us today – will enable a new look at vulnerabilities in the city and improved decision-making, in order to improve the feeling of personal security."

Itzik Ben-David, CIO at Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality: "The municipality is very proud of its partnerships with local startups, enabling us to enjoy the creativity and technological advances, and to take advantage of these to improve the service that we provide to our residents. We determine the challenges of the city by analyzing and understanding the needs of our residents. This is how we are capable of offering services to our residents that other cities do not offer, and in sectors where other cities do not even think about intervening at all."

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EYTAN HALON

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TEL AVIV-YAFO MUNICIPALITY

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halon_e@mail.tel-aviv.gov.il

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