Thursday, 4 October 2007

Take pictures – not chances

by Doug Horrigan from Bakoff

Over the past few years my wife and I have become increasingly worried about the increasing frequency, nature and ferocity of assaults, particularly those against women...

My wife works in the city and occasionally has to work late or socialise with work colleagues which means that she has to travel to the station either in a cab or by foot. It’s not too much of a problem walking in the summer, but dark winter nights are a different matter, so she tends to take a cab.

Usually you can get a black cab fairly quickly and these are generally quite safe, but sometimes she would have to wait around alone on deserted streets, and would occasionally take a passing minicab.

We thought that it would be a good idea to send a photo of the driver to me but when we tried we always had problems, either the message didn’t arrive or I had to try and retrieve it from a website somewhere, so in the end we gave up.

Matters came to a head last year when the five girls were murdered in Ipswich. Its not a million miles from Ipswich to the city and it’s very easy for a maniac to jump on a train and attack girls somewhere else, so we thought it was about time someone did something about it and try to make the streets a little safer.

I came up with the idea of ‘Bakoff’, a photo messaging service to help to deter attacks and provide an opportunity for people to act proactively regarding their safety and, in the worst case, assist in identification of an attacker.

Bakoff is very quick and easy to use; you just use a camera phone to take a photo of a caller, driver or new acquaintance before you’re alone with them then send it to us. We then send you a confirmation that we’ve received it and we’ll back it up on two separate systems so we don’t lose it.

We keep the price as low as possible; we would rather have people use the service than risk an assault just for the sake of a few pence.

To use the service, just send the photo with the word bakoff as the first word in the message to 07803 851600. Calls cost 50p and you’ll have a network charge of around 25p. The message is secure and anonymous, no one gets to see it unless there’s an assault or robbery then we pass it to the Police.

For more information about what we do, visit:

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At 28 October 2007 at 08:06 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is always someone around to make money out of women's insecurity. It really isn't difficult for women to do this for themselves if they want to. The intention might be benign but it just feeds the fear that women live with. By the way, I think the terminology the writer was after was 'woman' NOT 'girl' and few rapists are 'maniacs' - they are ordinary men (that is why rape is so widespread in society).

At 30 October 2007 at 22:02 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to help end murder and rapes to sexworkers in uk a website of is set up to help campaign so kindly all support and spead the word that legal justice system is still failing to bring offenders to justice, when its a sexworker that has been raped.


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