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Local News

Fears new WalkSafe app could attract predators

today19/03/2021

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Women in Doncaster have voiced their reaction to a new app that details the amount and type of crime in their local area.

‘WalkSafe’ can identify crimes from sexual assault to a mugging or knife attack.

Following its release, many have began to look closer at their home towns. In light of the statistics for Doncaster, many women have come forward to express how they no longer feel safe to walk the streets in their local area.

With sexual assault/violent crimes being the most common in the area, some are beginning to question how safe the streets around them actually are. For some, the rise in crime means not leaving the house altogether.

Some took to Twitter to voice their worries and fears when accessing the data.

To get the latest email updates from Yorkshire Live, click here .

Responses to the tweet ranged between people urging the user to “stay safe pal” and another in shock with how close the crimes were to her area. “The majority of these are within walking distance from my house” followed by “just downloaded it, someone got stabbed round the corner 5 hours ago”.

Another posted with a picture of the same area only a day later with the caption “Only a day difference and look at the growth”.

Speaking to Olivia Jones, 25 from Doncaster, she felt the app was an important step forward but was not without its pitfalls.

“It’s a bit of a pain to figure out at first & it requires access to all of your contacts which is a bit strange. It requires at least one other contact to have the app so it can tell them where you’re going, what time to ring you if they don’t receive a message.

Some took to Twitter to express their fears
(Image: Twitter/Mills . BLM)

“It doesn’t allow you to just create a contact within the app, so if your friend doesn’t have a smartphone it’s not really accessible to everyone.

“Once you’re all set up though you can set your location to where you want to go & you can log anything that you have experienced. It seems as though a fair few women in Doncaster have the app which is great.

“There’s lots of information about what happens where & the more people use the app the more successful it will be in terms of logging the ‘safest’ route.

“It’s obviously not perfect though because if I were a predator I could just see what the ‘safest’ route is & start targeting that area. I think it’s a pretty good app all in all, especially as it tracks your location.”

Speaking to Olivia about her experiences as a woman in Doncaster, it seemed as though feeling unsafe is nothing knew.

“Prior to Covid when we could go to places, I never felt safe. Lighting is a massive issue in our area, there’s only two strips of lighting around Townfields which is where a number of assaults happen.

“I’ve experienced a multitude of sexual harassment whilst living here. For example, I was walking through Townfields one night when a man called over to me from his car “you’re gorgeous, what’s your name?”

“I carried on walking and ignored the man, only to find him following me. He suddenly stopped and opened his door so I just ran as fast as I could.

“Another time I walked passed a man on my way home when he started staring at me, I kept walking and when I looked back he was still stood staring at me, just watching me walk.”

This isn’t something Olivia has only recently been a victim of however.

“Even when I was younger I was sexually harassed. When I was 14, a boy exposed himself to me whilst we were sat in a lesson, I had no idea what to do.”

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today19/03/2021


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