Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ghetto? No Thanks.

An in-development Microsoft smart phone app designed to help drivers and pedestrians avoid unsafe neighborhoods is proving controversial among some minority rights groups that find the software potentially discriminatory. Modern technology for cell phones just gets batter, don't it? Keeping it real, is all. There are those times when one would just be better off avoiding certain parts of the city.

Of course, this can go several ways.
Maybe an app that would help you steer clear of areas where driving Asians proliferate?
Or tall bridges through Portland?
A reverse app that takes you through Laguna Beach during high bikini season?

Oh, the possibilities...

Gotta love this money quote:
“Can you imagine me not being able to go to MLK Blvd. because my GPS says that’s a dangerous crime area? I can’t even imagine that,” she said.
But the rest of us can.
That is the idea, afterall.
I can't speak for Dallas or many other parts of ghetto America, but my experience in areas I do know about tell me it's usually best to avoid certain neighborhoods, and these neighborhoods quite often have an MLK Blvd running through them.

10 comments:

Brian said...

There was a Simpsons episode (long time ago) where the kids are on a field trip to Capitol City, and they get lost. At one point the principal panics because they're at the corner Cesar Chavez Way and MLK Boulevard.

Yeah, some neighborhoods are best avoided if you don't have any business there. But anyone who builds an app to help with that is courting a pretty predictable response. If you don't mind being called a racist, then by all means, make some money...

Personally, if I want to get a sense of the neighborhood, just pull it up on Google Maps and type in "grocery store". That pretty much will tell you everything you need to know.

Mr. D said...

Chris Rock has been telling a variation of that MLK Boulevard joke for years. The reason it's funny is because it's true.

In St. Paul, you can get really good food on Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

Gino said...

brian: i thought the grocery store thing was los angeles thing. i guess not. even gardena's north side didnt have a grocery store (for the same reasons). after several yrs, one was put in, but was shuttered after about 5 yrs. couldnt make any money cause everything got stolen. the store i ever been in where there where no displays up front, close to the doors. it was kinda surreal.

mark: yeah, cesar chavez can be hit or miss around here. barrios arent quite so violent to where as you cannot drive thru them.

Brian said...

Gino: it's damn-near universal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_desert

Foxfier said...

Typing in "grocery store" in my area-- assuming Google is any good at finding them-- will tell you what the demographic is, especially if you bring up a picture.
If it shows a light-up sign that says "OC RY ORE" you might want to avoid it....

That said, the initial form of such an ap could be the number of fatality accidents in an area, sorted by type-- there was just a big story about that, after all, so I know the data is out there.
A sex-offender one could follow... avoid trouble by selling the ap to avoid/aim for something, then sell the data-sets as add-ons. Harder to get angry when you're just formatting information like, oh, "assault with a deadly reports" and pushing that out....

*subject change*

I know that zoning laws made for a lot of issues with drunk driving-- I'd suspect that they did the same to create the "food desert" thing.

Foxfier said...

(Am I the only one that gets suspicious about criteria like "affordable, healthy food"? Seems rather subjective; a LOT of mischief could hid in that!)

Bike Bubba said...

Wait a second here; if you claim that an app that allows people to avoid high crime neighborhoods is racist, wouldn't you be implicitly making the argument that crime is indeed linked to race?

Wouldn't that be racist in itself? And isn't it ironic that the racist here is a NAACP leader?

As for me, I make no apologies for avoiding bad neighborhoods. Any smart person knows that when you don't see reputable stores--grocery stores, banks, and such--and you do see pawn shops and bars on the windows of stores--it's time to go somewhere else. And if the residents don't like that, they can take some concrete steps to make life difficult for their local thugs, end of story.

Gino said...

but you'd be missing all the culture if you avoided MLK.

Night Writer said...

As for me, I don't go into any bars that have more than 3 motorcycles parked in front - unless one of them is my wife's.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

I wish I had that app when I lived in Minneapolis.