Key TakeawaysSafeUp is a free app for women to feel safer while walking alone by using crowdsourcing data. Studies show that 50% of women either always or often feel unsafe while walking alone at night. The app's creator said that the app empowers women to be a part of the change and advocate for women's safety. d3sign / Getty Images
When you're a woman walking alone at night, it can be scary and stressful, but one app uses crowdsourcing to make women feel more comfortable in their communities.
SafeUp uses crowdsourcing from its users to connect one woman with another who lives in the area they are walking in to feel safe and looked after while navigating the streets alone. The company's CEO and co-founder, Neta Schreiber, said the app's goal is to encourage women to help each other feel like they are making a difference.
"It's bigger than just a safety app," Schreiber told Ach5 in a video call. "It's a statement that I want to be part of the change, and I want to help other women and make my community safer."
Like many women, Schreiber has experienced feeling unsafe and vulnerable. She and her group of friends banded together to ensure they all felt safe in new or sketchy situations.
"Whenever one of us went on a blind date, the rest of us were at the same restaurant sitting at a different table to make sure she was OK," she said.
But not everyone has a tight-knit group of friends who would be willing to go out of their way like that, so when Schreiber got into the tech world, she began to create a solution to the problem almost every woman experiences.
SafeUp is free and available on iOS and Android devices in 107 countries. The app provides a safe, online network of women helping women. To ensure the network is secure, new users must be verified by a community manager before being approved to use the app.SafeUp
Once approved, a woman can choose to become a guardian, who acts as a point of contact for others when walking alone at night.
"You can see how many guardians there are around you and in big cities," Schreiber said. "If you're out walking, you can opt onto a call or video call with your nearest guardian, and they will speak with you and understand your situation to make sure you feel safer."
The guardian you are paired with using the app's location technology will be able to see your exact location to ensure you make it to your destination safely. If need be, guardians even can physically come to you to walk with you in rare cases. Of course, there is always an option within the app to call authorities if a situation becomes dangerous.
"Most responses we get are that women have told us before they had SafeUp, every time they would go out, they were worried, but now they don't need to think twice because they always know there will be someone there to help them," Schreiber said.
Women's Safety at the Forefront
Since the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017, women's safety has been more discussed and prioritized in society. Recently, a case in the UK gained international attention when 33-year-old Sarah Everard went missing while walking home at night.
Unfortunately, her remains were found a week later, but women around the world and on social media have spoken up about feeling afraid and vulnerable while walking alone.
According to a survey by YouGov, 50% of women always or often feel unsafe while walking alone at night, compared to only 16% of men.
"SafeUP is a tool for women to take the responsibility in their hands and make it safer for all the women living in their same neighborhood," Schreiber said.
She said the women's rights demonstrations last year and the activity on social media drove the topic of women's safety to the forefront of conversations. While more attention to the issue is needed, Schreiber said it's up to all of us to create the change we want to see for future generations, and that the app is a step in the right direction.
"We have to ask ourselves if we as a society want to take [issues with women feeling unsafe] with us to the next 100 years," she said.