Mayor Kenney's dream app is a tool for reporting street harassment - Philly


Feb. 25, 2016 12:02 pm

Mayor Kenney’s dream app is a tool for reporting street harassment

Who wants to build it?

"I am so sick of street harassment."

(Photo by Joseph Gidjunis for the City of Philadelphia)

We were sitting in the mayor’s office last month and talking about civic apps when Mayor Kenney said, “You know what I really want?”

Do tell, Mayor.

“I am so sick of street harassment,” he said. “I see it and I scold it and I hate it.”

That’s why Kenney’s dream app is one that lets women map and report street harassment.

Here’s what he envisions: the app could allow users to “surreptitiously take that creep’s picture” and put him on blast. Maybe cops could use the data to deploy enforcement to corners that have particularly high incidences of the practice.

“It would be really empowering for women,” he said.

We didn’t have a chance to tell the Mayor (his press secretary Lauren Hitt had invited us to talk to the Mayor and Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski about the administration’s dedication to open data, so we had other questions to attend to), but at one time, Philly had a startup that was working on exactly that. They were called Safecity and were here from India, as part of the city’s FastFWD social enterprise accelerator. The two women behind the company have since left the city, unfortunately.

Another local group working on street harassment prevention and awareness is Feminist Public Works, which has its roots as a local chapter of international anti-street harassment movement Hollaback! (Feminist Public Works split from Hollaback! last year.) We reached out to the crew to see what the latest with them was. We loved the 2014 Ignite Philly talk from Feminist Public Works’ leaders Rochelle Keyhan and Anna Kegler, a content marketer at RJMetrics. Watch it here.

So, any other takers to build Kenney’s dream app?

Because, as he put it, “you should be able to ride your bike down the street without having some guy take his hand out the window and smack you in the butt. That’s inappropriate.”


“Eloquently put,” Hitt said.

People: James Kenney
Projects: FastFWD
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