Maintaining a peaceful coexistence and encouraging social cohesion is never an easy task and always presents a challenge for cities. Nowadays, however, we have access to technology that can serve as a useful tool for promoting better communication between citizens, the public administration and law enforcement.
In December 2013, a joint initiative between the local council of Cornellà de Llobregat (Barcelona) and the private company, Einsmer, led to the town investing in one of these technologies in the form of a public safety mobile application. The result was an extremely intuitive, easy-to-use and accessible-to-all application that aims to safeguard citizens 365 days a year.
The App allows residents to notify the local police (Guàrdia Urbana) of any incident observed, quickly dial emergency numbers, receive alerts and general or personalised warnings, facilitate the location of vulnerable people, send emergency geo-located messages to the local police command centre and obtain and divulge pedagogical information related to preventive safety and first aid.
Furthermore, the system used by the application allows for inter-territorial cooperation that optimises resources and services between different municipalities and security forces, enhances collaboration between administrations and promotes citizen empowerment. The technical tool must be understood as a complement to the work carried out by Cornellà’s urban police force, governed by the Local Security Plan (PLASECOR), which includes actions designed to prevent conflicts before they occur. It promotes the participation of the different security actors, the assumption of responsibilities in its implementation and the promotion of joint and transversal work with the different security forces and the citizens.
The versatility of the application means it can be adapted to specific needs or new approach strategies proposed by the administration. For example, in 2019, Cornellà de Llobregat Municipal Council and the company Einsmer added a new alert function to the application aimed exclusively at assisting women who experience gender-based violence or suffer public harassment.
The system works with two levels of security: level 1, intended only for women in situations of gender-based violence with restraining orders against their aggressors (an alert that can be activated without having to unlock the phone), and level 2, intended for public harassment alerts, which is activated from the mobile’s home screen and puts the victim in direct contact the local police command centre.
In both cases, the security alerts reach the local police immediately through a geo-location and tracking feature, which activates an assistance protocol and alerts the local police officer closest to the victim so that they can reach the scene as quickly as possible. In addition, the user’s data is never shared and is only visible to police officers when the citizen requests assistance.