First, it was Ghetto Tracker. Now, it’s SketchFactor. The new iPhone app, which will soon be available for Android, allows users to report on what they think are sketchy parts of town—so that other users can navigate around them. The app, which essentially crowdsources fear, just became available for download and has already garnered some racist posts.
The app was created by Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington; McGuire told Crain’s New York that she was motivated to create the app while living in Washington, D.C., as a young non-profit worker. She lives in New York now and says “almost nothing’s sketchy anymore.” So although she lives in a place in which she claims nothing is suspicious to her anymore, McGuire and Herrington nevertheless introduced SketchFactor. They now stand to make $20,000 for SketchApp as BigApps finalists, a contest sponsored by the New York Economic Development Corporation.
McGuire also told Crain’s that although she understands the potential as SketchFactor as a portal for racism, she hopes people will actually empower people of color to report racial profiling:
“We understand that people will see this issue,” Ms. McGuire said. “And even though Dan and I are admittedly both young, white people, the app is not built for us as young, white people. As far as we’re concerned, racial profiling is ‘sketchy’ and we are trying to empower users to report incidents of racism against them and define their own experience of the streets.”
Yeah. That’s probably not gonna happen.