Mayor Ras J. Baraka launched the Women’s Safety Hackathon, a #HackNWK competition, to create a technology that makes Newark safer for women, at a press conference on Thursday, November 10 in the City Hall Press Room.
The Women’s Safety Hackathon will give entrants three months to create a technology that will improve safety for women in Newark. Submissions will be collected through the internet with a formal show-and-tell scheduled for February 2017 at the Tech Academy. The winning entrant will receive $15,000 to build out their prototype for deployment on June 1, 2017, and then $35,000 to maintain the system for one year. The competition is open to entrants nationwide.
“Using technology to improve the lives of residents is what Newark 3.0 is all about,” said Mayor Baraka. “I am excited to see what kinds of solutions great minds can come up with.”
The Hackathon is being conducted in conjunction with the Department of Health and Community Wellness and the Department of Public Safety. The local tech community will be invited to the event for a conversation with the Mayor.
“The tech community is always innovating, here we are asking the techies to innovate for social good,” said Newark Chief Information Officer Seth Wainer.
Four “use cases” for the technology include:
- Safety on the Street – Women are often in danger simply by being present on the street. Bystander intervention and other proven methods could be applied through technology to help reduce street crime aimed at women.
- Domestic Violence – Inside homes and families, women are at risk for violence from those closest to them. Incidents are often repeated and sometimes known to neighbors.
- Teen Dating – Women and teenage girls are susceptible to violence while dating. With better awareness and training, technology could leverage the teen community in Newark to address this.
- Evidence Collection – Many incidents of violence against women are not prosecuted successfully because of the lack of evidence that can be used in a court. Technology can be leveraged to improve evidence collection and prosecution rates.