Though Seoul ranks eighth in the Safe Cities Index 2019 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the city government is continually seeking to raise public safety. Since 2013, the capital has offered the safety services Safe Back Home Scout, Safe Parcel Service for Women and a program designating convenience stores as safety shelters.

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From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., two “scouts” or escorts can walk a person home who requests such assistance through the service Safe Back Home Scout via 120 DASAN Seoul Call Center, a helpline operated by Seoul Metropolitan Government, or the city’s smartphone app Ansimi.

By Song Baleun and Kim Hwaya
Photos= Seoul Metropolitan Government

Despite Seoul being one of the world’s safest cities, the city government offers three services to further boost public safety. One of them is Safe Back Home Scouts, which has two escorts accompanying a city resident to his or her home from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Geared to ease the fears of those who have to return home late at night, the service can be requested by calling the situation room of a gu (ward) office, 120 DASAN Seoul Call Center, a helpline operated by the city government, or the city-run smartphone app Ansimi. The service is considered effective in reducing crime.

The user meets the two scouts at the designated place and time and all three go to the user’s home.

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When an emergency is reported via the Ansimi app, police monitor the case at the integrated control center of each autonomous district through surveillance cameras. If signs of a crime are detected, prompt measures are taken such as the dispatch of officers to the scene.

If someone feels he or she is in danger and seeks a safe place, the city has designated convenience stores to also serve as shelters given the ubiquitous nature and ease of finding such businesses.

A police hotline is set up at each convenience store that is designated a “safety protection home” to allow the owner or staff to directly report an emergency to police by pressing the emergency button.

In addition to the emergency button, such stores can automatically call the police emergency hotline 112 without dialing. Among the estimated 7,770 convenience stores in Seoul, 12% or 938 of them have been designated safety shelters.

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Since 2013, Seoul Metropolitan Government has operated the Safe Parcel Service for Women, installing automatic lockers at subway stations and community service centers. Information on the lockers’ locations is available on the city’s app Ansimi or that of CJ Logistics.

Parcel delivery is an essential part of daily life in the country, but also holds the potential for crime. Given the rise in one-person households, especially those of women, many are often afraid to open the door to a stranger given news that criminals can disguise themselves as deliverymen.

The city government’s Seoul Safe Parcel Service for Women allows a user to have stuff delivered to her assigned locker instead of her home address. This has helped reduce anxiety over the dangers of delivery service and prevent crime.

The service is free but parcel storage that exceeds 48 hours incurs a daily fee of KRW 1,000 afterwards.

Since June 2013, two million people have used these lockers.

The locations of the 232 lockers are available on the city government’s official website (http://news.seoul.go.kr/welfare/archives/508835) in Korean only and the app Ansimi.

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