As many as 40,000 citizens downloaded the Suraksha App in two days after Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao appealed to them to do so on Monday after a 27-year-old veterinarian was gang-raped and murdered in Hyderabad.
Since its launch in April 2017, a little over one lakh people had installed the app on their phone. But in the last two days, the number had crossed 1.5 lakh, said a senior officer in charge of the police control room.
The surge in downloads is keeping personnel on their toes as they attended to distress calls. Many people were pressing the red button and dialling 100 to check the response time. Even such calls are attended to with equal importance, said a senior police official.
Mr. Rao assured people of their safety and said that the police are committed to respond to an alert within seven seconds and arrive at the spot in nine minutes. We are trying to make the service even better and on par with 911 in the US by further reducing the response time, he said. The initiative is to ensure the safety of women, and we urge people to check the response time.
Jurisdictional station in-charge officers have been instructed to monitor Hoysalas regularly and issue necessary instructions. However, police personnel said that prank calls only diverted their attention from situations where they may actually needed to respond.
Around 270 Hoysala patrol vehicles are stationed at sensitive zones along with over 1,200 Cheetah motorcycle patrol squads who will be the first responders to such calls.
Another reason for the increasing number of app downloads is that the jurisdictional police are organising awareness sessions in sensitive areas.
Teams have been dispatched to schools, colleges, garment factories, private firms and other workplaces to give a demo on how the app works. Weve also been helping people download them, said Rohini Katoch Sepat, DCP (South division).
Sadiya Ahmed, a 26-year-old private firm employee who downloaded app recently, said that it gave her a feeling that there is backup should she need it. "In times of emergency, there is always confusion about whom to call. Friends and family members come to mind first. But if we have an easy way to alert the police first, it helps, she said.
Others highlighted the need for a quick response.