The highly publicized rape and murder of a woman in New Delhi, India has lead to calls for reform in the rapidly modernizing nation. But while local and national politicians have begun debating new laws regarding prosecuting and punishing rapists, officials in Karnataka have begun instituting preventive measures to ensure the safety of the women in the area. State legislators announced in December that taxis and autorickshaws will be equipped with GPS devices, presumably to hold their operators accountable for where they drive their clients.
New Delhi, which has the dubious honor of being sometimes called India’s “rape capital,” could learn from Karnataka. While laws and increased police presence are needed, this burgeoning mega-city needs to begin applying modern technology to its fight against sexual assaults. When a woman can’t get into a taxi for fear of what might happen to her, every avenue to prevent rape needs to be explored. Installing GPS tracking devices in taxis and autorickshaws will help give women confidence that they can ride public transportation vehicles safely.
One of the major problems discussed during the Indian debate on rape is that victims often struggle to prove their case because of a lack of witnesses. Installing GPS devices in public transportation vehicles will discourage drivers from driving off route to take advantage of female passengers. And should that happen, with GPS tracking, women now have a method of appeal, an impartial witness not too afraid or ashamed to testify. While reform is certainly needed, and likely on the way, in Indian laws regarding rape, state lawmakers in Karnatakan have proved that modern technology can be applied as a preventative measure. They have also proved that, while GPS has been popularly available for years, its uses still have yet to be fully realized.
Because they can pinpoint exact locations with near perfect accuracy, GPS devices are one of the more reliable resources available to law enforcement agencies. As India continues to make technological strides, the widespread use of GPS tracking devices may prove to be a long term preventative measure against rape. And as police learn to use their newest crime fighting weapon, perhaps they will become aware of other, as yet unthought of ways, to use GPS to fight crime.Google+