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.
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.
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.