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Mayor's Hope Journal

  • dated March 8, 2013 / Subject: Women’s safety
    [Mayor Park Won Soon’s Hope Journal 107]

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    Residents of Geumcheon-gu, Seoul pushing ahead with the safe village campaign

    Do you know what day it is today? It’s International Women’s Day. As such, it’s necessary to point out once again that women in this country are in a sorry state. It’s a terrible shame that the country ranks second among OECD countries in terms of gender crime rates, while Seoul is one of the cities with the highest rates of sexual violence. Faced with this depressing situation, Seoul City announced a plan to take extra measures for women’s safety on March 6. The first thing we will do is provide a service consisting of round-the-clock protection of single women’s homes in cooperation with a security business for a monthly charge of 9,900 won. We aim to provide the service to 3,000 households and expand it to up to 10,000 households by 2015. Under the service, wireless detection sensors installed in households will set off an alarm in the event of an attempt to break into a house, whereupon the security business will immediately dispatch security officers to the house.

    Furthermore, we will install 409 additional surveillance cameras in elementary schools and see-through fences in 57 schools, as well as installing new street lights or replacing existing ones with much brighter LED lights in 4,000 spots in neighborhood back alleys. A total of 5,444 lights in six public underground parking lots, including those close to Yeongdeungpo-gu Office Station and Hangnyeoul Station, will be made much brighter. The number of areas where the special door-to-door delivery service for women is available will be increased from 11 to 50 by the end of the first half of this year and to 200 by 2015. We will also start providing bodyguards for women returning home late at night (10:00 PM – 1:00 AM). The guards (two guards serving as a team) will be ready at the designated subway station or bus stop in time for the woman’s arrival and accompany her to her home either by foot or by car. We will select 500 guards by the end of March, and will launch the service on a trial basis in ten areas in May, as part of Seoul City’s job creation program.

    Another service will be created in which people will deliver goods to households. They will be obliged (employees who deliver goods to households will be obliged to report directly to the police any emergency situation they happen to spot in the course of performing their job. A flag will be attached to their motorcycles to help people identify them easily. Seoul City will also sign agreements with pizza businesses for a pilot run of the service. Self-defense village guards will be operated this year in ten villages and will be expanded to all villages in Seoul by 2014.

    We will also take protective measures for women using public transportation, including the following: installation of surveillance cameras and emergency bells in every subway car; deployment of safety guards at every subway station; and recruitment of subway store staff as surveillance personnel. The number of subway security guards will be increased from 150 to 250 this year.

    The Subway Safety App, which can be used to request help in the event of danger, will be developed by September of this year and will enter into service on Subway Line 2 first, followed by Lines 1, 3, and 4 by 2014. The late night (midnight – 5:00 AM) bus service will start in April on two routes (Gangseo~Jungnang; Gupabal~Songpa) and will be expanded to eight routes by July. The number of users of the safe return home taxi service, which transmits information on a female taxi user to her guardian, will be increased from 220,000 in 2012 to 300,000 by 2014. We will continue to develop further protective measures for women in the near future.