To love and to protect

Children’s safety? Do it with love 

No, I’m not an expert in love, much less in the one parents feel. 🙂 Logically, I don’t offer you instructions regarding the art of loving then… The title was just supposed to emphasize the close relation of love and the desire to protect, as I’m convinced that protection itself isn’t enough. Especially when children are concerned – they have to be protected with love. Otherwise, it can happen they won’t be interested in our protection… So, how to guarantee children’s safety?

Sometimes, even banal things can save them… Attention, right direction, immediate decision or a well-asked question…

Teach them to protect themselves... 
...but don’t forget to explain it to them with love :)  

Defense, flight and right words

Talk a lot with your children and build trust with them. In the future, you can thus count on them to entrust their worries which complicate their lives to you. It is more complicated to protect your child if they keep their secrets from you. And this holds even more in age of modern technologies. It is this very trust which can reduce the risk of danger children face on the internet.

If a stranger asks for help should a child give it to them? If somebody asks your child for help, they should answer directly with clear “no” and get away. Of course, it is important to help people; however, if somebody really needed help, they would ask an adult for it. Teach your child to keep distance from strangers; you can practise an arm-length distance with them. If a stranger gets closer to your child while talking, they should automatically take one step back.   

In case a strange person addresses your child and wants to take them away, they should automatically ask: “What are my parents’ names?” Or, you can agree on a “Family password” which will help children to find out they are not in danger and can trust this person. A secret question or a word which will be known only to you and your children.  

What should a child do if they notice somebody follows them? They should find the closest shopping center, hairdresser’s or square. A place where there are people. When they are safe, they can call you and you can pick them up there.

Teach your child to fly from a danger 
and not to head for it. 

Anybody who interferes with their personal space can represent a danger. You can explain your child that if somebody caught, held or wanted to take them away, they should attract attention of people around them; they could, for example, shout: “This is not my dad / mom” or “I don’t know you” and make every effort to get away by kicking, scratching, yelling…

Don’t take unnecessary risks!

Modern technologies are here to protect us. You can protect your child even if you are not with them. Install an application which will allow you to monitor their current position into their mobile phone, so that you always know where they are at the moment and if they have already got to school or home and that they are safe.

Providing your child with an SOS button is also one of the options. It can function independently and the child can have it inside the pocket of their trousers or pinned to their clothes, or it can be a functional part of their watch or bracelet. It is important that a child has it handy in case of danger.   

“Home alone” doesn’t have to end up in a disaster

What can a child do if they are alone at home and somebody tries to open the door? It can be surprising, but, before contacting 158, they should call their parents. Parents can use the time during which their child would call with rescue services to call their neighbors for help, thus gaining the precious time. Math prevails in this case as a phone call to parents can take about one minute and there are immediately three people (two parents and one child) to provide information instead of one scared child. Not to mention the fact that a phone call with parents can help the child and calm them down before they talk to the police.  

How should they react if an electrical plug starts smoking while you’re away? The child has to know that if there is fire in a house or a flat, they mustn’t try to extinguish it by any means. First of all, they have to leave the building and, as soon as they are safe outside, it is time to call the firemen, parents or ask neighbors for help.  

What if…?

What should a child do if a strong storm surprises them in the street? Find a safe place quickly and hide themselves in a shopping center, hotel lobby or the nearest café. It isn’t safe to stay close to railway constructions, cars, water tanks and high trees. A lightning heads for the ground through the highest point which is close. Therefore, if you or your child are surprised by storm in a field, don’t try to run from it. You should lie on the ground and wait until it passes.

You will get dirty and wet, but, on the other hand, 
which is most important, alive and well.  

What if a child finds themselves in a crowd of people? Instruct your child to avoid the crowds. If they get into a crowd of people nevertheless, explain to them that the worst they can do is to go in the opposite direction. They have to walk with the crowd, gradually trying to get out. If the child falls over, it can save them to sit up into the so called “fetal position” and covers their head with their arms.  

There is a child in each of us; the only difference is some of us have already stopped celebrating the Children’s Day! 🙂

 

 

Growth team leader at BeeSafe

5 Innovative Solutions for Creating a Safer City. One which is purely Slovak ;)


We live in a safe country.

Reality? A dream?

Maybe my linguistic spirit is talking and maybe it is a reaction to the recent events… I’m subconsciously changing the punctuation.

Do we live in a safe country?   

Somebody googles the stats straight away, observes the numbers, compares. The results aren’t that bad! Slovakia is quite safe.

Quite? Unless something happens. It’s not only about numbers; it’s about people. About safety.  

And so I’ve googled. Not numbers, but ideas. The technology is constantly progressing. Cities we perceive as the safest today prove it by their solutions.  

Some ideas are waiting to be implemented, others already contribute directly to increasing the safety. What are they?

Complex security system monitoring 

Singapore deservedly belongs among the safest cities in the world. They take the issue of public safety very seriously and their special Safe City Programme proves it. It is a series of measures, containing, besides others, advanced data analysis, use of visualizations, displaying camera recordings via automatic notifications in real time, tracking the GPS location of ground troops during an action etc. The acquired results allow them to successfully increase the safety of their citizens, success rate and efficiency of interventions by law-enforcement agencies and decrease the criminality from long-term point of view.   

Small Smart Idea 

You might have heard the news thatthe Chinese police started using the so called Smart Glasses for their work. High number of cameras which record what is happening in public places are now supplemented by special glasses that are able to see more than a humaneye. They help with faster and more precise identification of a potential offender. How does it work? The Smart Glasses are interconnected with state database. Using the glasses, a policeman can take a picture of a suspect, who is then automatically compared to people in the database. Subsequently, the policeman is notified whether he is following a wanted or otherwise dangerous person. The technology has already achieved first successes, with the police being able to catch 7 wanted people and reveal false identities of 35 people.  

Security solution? Professional predictions

Predictive Crime Mapping The displayed places with assumed occurrence of danger are a result of criminal activities recorded up to now. Creators of the map work with data from the database of committed crimes. Location, specific time and kind of a committed crime are important for this purpose.

Work of the police in Great Britain has also undergone a great change due to the advance and new technologies. Using the latest technologies and aided by advanced analytics, recordings by public cameras and collecting of statistical data, they have managed to create a special map called “Predictive crime mapping”, which they use for marking the locations of potential emergence of crime and subsequently regulate the movements of specific law-enforcement agencies. The practice has clearly proven that it is 10-times more efficient if patrols focus on places that have been marked as locations with higher probability of occurrence of danger than having the places controlled randomly.   

Bizarre or brave idea? 

New Zealand has come up with possibly the bravest (or most bizarre) idea of solving security. After all, see for yourselves! 🙂 They would like to use specially-equipped drones to improve the efficiency of law-enforcement agencies’ interventions. These would differ from common drones by improvements like searchlights, cameras and ability to make warning sounds and signs. The drones adjusted in such way could disturb or scare off a perpetrator, record their movement and, for example, get to crime scene more easily and quickly than the law-enforcement agencies themselves. Citizens of New Zealand have shown differing reactions to the idea of security improvement through these modern devices. On one hand, we can speak of enthusiasts; on the other hand, there are those who, paradoxically, consider drones too dangerous to contribute to security improvement.  

Smart idea from our little country

Good news? Slovakia does not fall behind. There are plenty of ideas and we have come up with one as well! We present an intelligent safety platform BeeSafe Safe City to improve the security in cities. It contributes to the safety itself also through interaction with those who know their surroundings the best – citizens of a specific city – who, using the simple mobile application, report threats and potential danger. Central system collects statistical data, evaluates them and reflects the results in a map.  

Would you also like to live in a safer city? Are you interested in our idea? Would you like to know how it works? Visit our web or contact us directly, we’ll be happy to tell you more about our vision 😉

Growth team leader at BeeSafe

Safety Apps are the Future of Reporting Incidents on Public Transport

incidents on public transport

 

When you see a problem for which you’ve built the perfect solution, you often get so excited you just want to shout: “Here! Come on! I could have solved your problem! I’ve got just the tool you need!” And even though these moments arise quite randomly, they always show you new ways of making use of your solution.

One of those moments happened to me last week during the three hours I had to spend on a train. What began as a pleasant trip, turned into a really annoying experience for almost everyone involved. I ended up wishing a solution similar to ours was implemented on public transport everywhere!

Question: How do you report an incident when you’re being watched by the attackers?

Actually, the ride had been quite pleasant for the first two hours or so. I brought my bicycle onboard, took a seat right next to it, and started a conversation with a man who was also travelling with a bike. After all, a shared passion is a great conversation starter.

This only lasted until two shabby looking men entered the compartment. They were obviously under influence of alcohol. When they asked me if they could sit right next to me, I said no.

Because of my reaction, they picked me as their main target. Since changing seats wasn’t an option (as my bicycle was still fixed to the wall), I had to spend the rest of the journey fencing off their verbal and well-nigh physical attacks. I only got a break when they turned their attention to some of the girls traveling in the same compartment.

The worst thing about this regrettable situation was how little we could do about it. As we saw that a direct confrontation wouldn’t help anything, we simply had to endure their unacceptable behaviour until the end.

Use a personal safety app to report incidents on public transport.

All that time I was clutching my phone in hand, thinking about how easy it would be to report the incident through a text message or an app. No risk involved. No direct confrontation. We could have solved this problem in about 5 minutes. Moreover, the solution itself is by no means futuristic and could be implemented with relative ease. Here’s why:

  1. The railway company is already interested in dealing with this kind of situations. It had signs printed all over the place, saying you can report any problems to the nearest conductor. The sign also encouraged us to call the police in case of a serious incident.
  2. Reporting an incident was the issue. During that last hour of my journey, I wasn’t lucky enough to see one. At the same time, I wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable calling the police in front of these two men. First, it would blow things way out of proportion. Second, doing so would irritate the two men even more. Third, they weren’t really breaking any law, they were simply being incredibly unpleasant. Reporting them to the conductor would certainly be the most appropriate response.
  3. Wireless network already present in every car. It wasn’t just my phone that seemed regrettably useless to me in the above situation. The wireless network in every car looked equally impotent. How easy would it be to use it be to summon help through local network, even in areas without Internet coverage?
  4. There are already similar solutions being used in some parts of the world. For instance, two years ago, Indian Railways began to use R-Mitra app to improve women’s safety on their trains. Female passengers were given a technology that allows them to call for help with a single tap. There are also similar system in place in many cities across the US as part of the See Something / Say Something anti-terrorist initiative. The list goes on.

Mobile technologies are the future of reporting incidents on public transport and beyond.

My unpleasant train ride back home shows the potential of personal safety solutions that goes way beyond using it when one’s life is in danger.

Using these technologies in new ways could even help safe lives when it will come to it. The problem is that you simply don’t encounter life threatening situations too often (fortunately). For this reason, most people don’t feel like they would need a safety app installed in their phone. However, once you widen its scope of usability (so it becomes usable even in less threatening situations), there’s a good chance you’ll have it by hand when you’ll need it.

Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.

7 Personal Safety Tips That Might Save Your Life Tomorrow

 

When things go south, it’s the little things that decide the outcome. If you  stay calm and equip yourself with relevant knowledge, even the most gruesome situations can be resolved with little to know damage to your well-being.

Which is why we’ve put together this list of personal safety tips. If you keep them in your mind, they might save your live of lives of your loved ones someday. You know, the winter has come and the night is dark and full of terrors. Get ready!

1. Always let others know where you’re going to be.

Make sure there’s always at least one person who’s going to look for you in case of emergency. This rules applies particularly to people who live alone.

You probably have a routine, like most people. If you decide to deviate from it, make sure someone knows where you’re going to be. This way, if you fail to show up at a given time and place, someone will begin to worry about you and try to reach you, eventually leading to a rescue operation.

It only takes a short phone call. Call your mom, your significant other, your flatmate, it doesn’t matter. If you want to be extra safe, tell them the exact locations and times, or even people you’re going to meet. Or you can use a personal safety app .

2. Never pull out any weapon.

“Never bring a knife to a gun fight.” When it comes to personal safety and self-defense, the opposite is true. In other words, unless you’re exceptionally skilled with a weapon, you don’t want to bring it into a fist fight.

If you pull out a weapon in a fight, you expose yourself to the risk of the attacker disarming you and using the weapon against you. Besides, robbers usually only bring weapons to intimidate and coerce. You don’t want to make these situations potentially more dangerous than they already are.

3. The bystander effect is real. Call out one person from the crowd.

Everybody knows the case of Kitty Genovese, even if not under that name. In 1964, Genovese, 28 years old, was stabbed, sexually assaulted, and murdered in front of 38 witnesses. The attack reportedly lasted for at least half an hour during which time Genovese screamed and pleaded for help.

Yet, not a single one of the witnesses helped her, each of them assuming that others would take responsibility. Psychologist call this the bystander effect.

For this reason, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, point directly at the nearest person and ask them for help like that. This way, they you’ll have a much better chance of receiving the help you need.

4. Always try to imagine all the possible dangerous situations.

Never stop being aware of your surroundings. If you’re walking alone, don’t be on your phone and take out your earphones. Once you give up one of your senses, you dramatically decrease your chances of survival, should something dangerous happen. The most important thing is to see the danger coming before it hits you.

Once you’ve got all your senses ready, train your mind to always imagine all the possible dangerous situations. See that dark alley? You might want to take another way home, you never know what’s hiding there. Who’s the most suspiciously looking person on the tram? Make sure he doesn’t follow you. You get the idea.

5. Take a step forward when physically threatened.

When someone tries to intimidate your physically (e.g. an idiot who’s trying to pick a fight), take a step forward. Most drunk fighters are no heroes and only pick weaker or easily intimidated targets. If you take a step forward, you have a much better chance they’ll stop harassing you.

Sure, it can seem a bit counter-intuitive, since everyone’s first instinct is to protect oneself. For this reason, you should try to imagine the whole scenario beforehand so you know how to react.

6. When walking alone at night, call someone or fake a phone call.

Many sex workers use this trick when returning home after a night shift. They simply call someone to continually describe their surroundings as they commute through a city. The effectiveness of this strategy is two-fold.

First, there’s another person on the other end of the line. In case something happens to you, they’ll know it and will be able to summon help exactly to the place you’ve described.

Second, attackers usually prefer picking low risk targets. Once you have a phone in your hand, it defers attackers from approaching you, as it’s more risky than attacking a true lone walker.

7. When stuck in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore.

Riptide is a fast narrow current running offshore and cutting through breaking waves. If you live near the sea, you probably know this. You also know how dangerous it can be if you get caught in one.

The surest way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore, left or right, as they’re usually quite narrow and easy to escape.

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Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.

Do You Want to Be Batman? Safety Apps Are Already Making It a Reality

 

Admit it. You only clicked on the title because of the Batman part. Naturally, who wouldn’t want to be Batman. As they say: “The most important thing in life is to be yourself, unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman.” And you know what? They’re right.

So to address the elephant in the room—Yes, you can indeed become a crime-fighting vigilante thanks to a safety app. Sort of. Perhaps not just in the way you’d expect. (It’s still pretty good though.)

Are safety apps opening ways for would-be vigilantes?

But let us start at the beginning. Last October, an app appeared on the App Store aimed at preventing crime. Although it was removed after only two days, it still managed to stir attention.

Called Vigilante, the app showed users where crime was happening in real life—and seemingly encourage them to help stop it. The app provided live video reports from crime scenes and near instant alerts to help people avoid becoming victims.

Sounds innocent enough, right? Only in theory. Vigilante went viral after a controversial promotional video appeared that showed actors using the app to prevent a would-be mugging.

In the end, the name of the app is also partly to blame. According the company’s CEO, the name Vigilante distracted people from the app’s core mission, which is to protect people and cities—not to encourage vigilantism. So they changed it.

Vigilante is back on the App Store now, under the new name Citizen. We can only hope that after the name change the app will encourage its users to be good citizens instead of good vigilantes.

safety app vigilante

Smart cities are already here. Data-driven approaches to safety in cities are an indispensable part of it.

So how does Citizen work? Once a call is made to 911, it lights up an area on your map.  In the case you’re anywhere near an incident, it’ll also notify you of possible danger.

Currently, the app is only available in New York but according to the Citizen CEO, he’s had inquiries “from all 50 states” in the US about launching in other cities. The main reason why it’s only available in NYC is that the company wants to get a better idea of how people are using this app.

In any case, Citizen is already incredibly popular. Since its launch in March, almost 50k users have already downloaded it. This number is quite astonishing considering the limited area where it’s fully operational.

However, the integration with the NYPD is where the true potential of the app starts to shine. The communication between the police department and citizens allows for collection of data that truly shape the smart city of today.

People in NYC are regularly using Citizen to check up on dangerous situations in their neighbourhoods. The app really shows that the solution is already in existence and ready to use. Once the responsible institutions take the first step, things begin to move surprisingly quickly. It’s another step towards the city shaped by real data, not by decisions of few elected bureaucrats.

Batman or Kick-Ass? Safety apps are creating citizen networks where everyone is responsible for everyone’s safety.

With the help of these technologies, everyone can become co-responsible for the safety in their neighbourhoods. The way people from Citizen say it, “it’s putting community back in community, where people are working together and people are staying safe and creating safety through this sort of citizen network we’ve created.” Fine. I know it might sound like a long stretch but doesn’t it make each of us a vigilante in one way or another?

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Safety enthusiast and blogger. Content Manager and Researcher at BeeSafe, a company that seeks to change the way we understand safety in this millennium.