Hyderabad: In a city with a female population of over 32.8 lakh, the Hawk Eye app has been downloaded by over only nine lakh people within Hyderabad.

In an attempt to reach out to both men and women, Hyderabad police had launched the ‘Hawk Eye’ app in December 2014. The app, which contains multiple services, has 9.09 lakh downloads, as per data obtained until October 2019. However, considering the 67-lakh population in the city of Hyderabad, the number of downloads for the app has been substantially low. Dr Disha (name changed) distressed call to her sister during her last moments also revealed that there was less awareness on what needs to be done during unsafe situations.

As public outrage spreads over Disha murder, Hyderabad police have repeatedly stressed the importance of having the ‘Hawk-Eye’ app downloaded on citizen’s phones. The emergency SOS feature on the app, designed exclusively for women’s safety helps to alert police in case any citizen is in an unsafe situation or distress. As of October 2019, over 13,000 SOS alerts have been made on the app.

Hawk Eye App

Commenting on the app, Shikha Goel, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crimes) in Hyderabad, said, “As far as women safety in the city is concerned, the Hawk Eye app provides a wide range of services. SOS is the most important feature concerning women’s safety. The SOS button has a linkage to five important alert numbers. Once you press the button, the call lands to the Command and Control Centre as well as the nearest patrol vehicle. The app will subsequently capture your location, alert the police on duty, and do the needful.”

The Hawk-Eye app is free software, providing a myriad of services. It includes registering traffic violations, reporting theft and crime, and receiving traffic updates among other services. The app also has another pertinent emergency feature ‘Women Travel Made Safe’ that provides women safety during journeys they find suspicious or unsafe. After entering the place of boarding, the destination and the vehicle number, the app will track the location of the vehicle concerned and ensure the concerned person’s safety.

Hawk Eye app

The data obtained until October 2019 also showed that 4,092 cases of women travel had been made safe by the app. At the same time, 2,540 cases of crime against women have been recorded through it. Traffic violations were the most recorded through the app: with 25,267 cases. Besides, 8,890 happening crimes have also been registered through the Hawk-Eye app.

Advising on how women can stay safe in the city, the police officer further added that when in doubt, women need to Dial 100. “It is imperative to have the Hawk Eye app downloaded or to dial 100. The response time for the app is just about 5-7 minutes. In case your mobile phone switches off or turns dysfunctional, first try to get out of the particular situation. Try to go to the nearest place where there are people and keep your close ones informed about your movements,” Shikha Goel said.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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