‘Apps’ Billed As Crime Prevention, May Actually Be Tools to ‘Racially Profile’


*Let’s face it, life can sometimes look like one big FEAR FACTOR if you let it. What with all the killings, kidnappings, and racially-charged protests, its not unusual to look in that rear-view mirror a bit more than usual, check on your child every second they are out of your sight, and just be all around suspicious anytime you’re out in public.

So what if somebody told you, hey, “There’s an app for that!”

There is…kind of.

But the apps, marketed as crime prevention tools, are now getting the side eye from folks who say, wait, this is not an app that is designed to help us, it looks more like an app for racial profiling. These new applications have names like “SketchFactor,” “Nextdoor.com,” and here’s one for ya, “GhettoTracker.com” and they are still in the experimentation stage.

And according to an article in Washington Post, retail owners in posh, white neighborhoods are using them to alert the authorities to ‘suspicious blacks.’

After all, blacks ARE the only people who commit crimes, right?

The article cites one instance when a series of texts were sent to the authorities by one very scared manager at Boffi Georgetown last March.

Julia Walter reached for her phone and accessed a private messaging application that hundreds of residents, retailers and police in this overwhelmingly white, wealthy neighborhood use to discuss people they deem suspicious.

“2 black males screaming at each other in alley,” Walter wrote. “. . . Help needed.”

A District police officer responded to Walter moments later saying he would check it out. But checking all of the messages in the private group over a period of time revealed most of the people cited by the app’s users were black. According to the article, this begged the questions: Is this chatroom reducing crime along the high-end retail strip? Was it making people feel safer? Or was it racial profiling?

SketchFactor app, for example, invites users to report “sketchy” people. But now the app is facing allegations of racism in the District and New York. And Nextdoor.com is another social network used by whites in Oakland, Calif. to report “suspicious activity” about black neighbors; while GhettoTracker.com asks its users to rate neighborhoods based on whether they thought they were “safe” or “ghetto.”

Does this sound like blatant racial profiling to you? I’m gonna say it straight out: that’s what it sounds like to me.


Read more here.


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