You’re about to take a shortcut through a back alley when suddenly your phone beeps — a notification pops up warning you that a sex crime has been committed there.
That’s what one prefecture in Japan is doing with its new “Mimamotchi” app.
The app, which uses GPS to track the user’s locations, automatically sends information when users enter areas where sex crimes have been logged.
It is the first app in Japan designed to help protect young women and children from sexual predators, Fukuoka’s prefectural police told the Asahi Shimbun.
Users can also choose to narrow down the sensitivity from their location, from a range of 5 km (3.1 miles) to 100 meters (328 feet).
The app shows where different sex crimes — from forcible indecency to groping — have happened on a map. Areas with a higher concentration of sex crimes are shown in red, allowing users to be able to easily spot and avoid potentially dangerous locations.
The Mimamotchi also has an alarm feature, with users able to trigger a warning beep with just a tap on screen, and to call 110 for police.
It has however, already received some high reviews on the Google Play store.
“I’ve been waiting for an app like this,” said one user.
“It’s a wonderful app. All women in Fukuoka should download it,” another reviewer said.
One official added that the app does not only work to protect users, but also to heighten crime awareness.
“Many people tend to look on sex crimes as somebody else’s problem, but we want them to learn about records of crimes so they will be more aware of crime prevention,” Masako Tsuru, an inspector who helped develop the app, said.
Tsuru added that police had also worked with high school and university students to crowdsource ideas.
There were 435 cases of sexual offences in Fukuoka Prefecture last year, the sixth highest level nationwide, according to the Nikkei.
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