DA-led Kouga Municipality launches app for improved safety

10 Jul 2022 in Where We Govern

KOUGA residents in dangerous situations can now “dial” Kouga Municipality’s integrated intelligence operation centre in Humansdorp using just the sound of their voice.

A first for any municipality.

The newly launched UrSafe Kouga app, activates at the sound of a safe word or a push of a button and immediately alerts the municipal integrated intelligent operation centre in Humansdorp – improving personal safety and accelerate response times.

The app is a groundbreaking initiative between Ursafe personal mobile security app and Kouga Municipality.

“Kouga has set its sights on becoming the safest municipality in South Africa,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks. “To ensure people want to live, work, and play in Kouga they need to feel safe and secure.

“Therefore, it is essential that we work together to ensure we are all safe when we are working or going to the shop or the beach. We also need to be safe in our homes.”

According to Hendricks, the UrSafe Kouga app is designed to help keep residents safe with various built-in safety features – including voice-activated SOS, geo-located emergency response, and real-time location sharing.

“These features help protect users in a variety of potentially dangerous situations, from home invasions and vehicle hijackings to kidnappings and online dating,” he said.

How it works
During emergencies, users can access the app hands-free by calling out a predesignated safe word (paid version) or by holding down an SOS button (free version) on the app.

The hands-free trigger is programmed to the specific user’s voice – so no one else can access it.

Stuart Riddle, a director of UrSafe Technologies South Africa, explained that on activation, the app instantly displays the user’s location and starts sending video and audio of the scenario to the main dashboard at the municipality’s integrated intelligence operation centre, as well as to the user’s SOS contacts.

“The centre is operational 24/7 and manned by trained operators,” said Riddle.

“The centre’s number (078 738 0910) must be stored as a designated emergency contact in the app. The evidence is stored on the user’s phone, as well as in the dashboard, for later use as evidence in any criminal investigation.”

According to him, the UrSafe app is already active in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Hendricks said, “Once activated, the operator on duty will immediately contact the relevant roleplayers – depending on the type of situation, whether it is the police, security company, neighbourhood watch, NSRI or ambulance service.

“And ensure that someone responds within minutes – if not seconds.

“The operator will make detailed notes throughout, and only close the activation once the user is safe.”

More features
Friends and family tracking, furthermore, allows designated friends, family, and loved ones to view the location of the user in real-time (Follow Me), as well as to monitor unsafe and uncomfortable situations via video stream (Check-In).

“These live video stream and location services will provide those in need with more support – allowing family and friends a way to respond even faster than some law enforcement,” said Hendricks.