British tourists James Cooper and James Kouzaris were on their way back to their hotel after an evening of drinking at a bar in Sarasota, Florida last year. Unfamiliar with the area, the two friends took a wrong turn and ended up in the ghetto where they were ambushed by a criminal minded ghetto dweller who riddled their bodies with bullets fired from an AK-47.
A new and controversial Smartphone app probably would have saved the men’s lives. The Microsoft app helps unsuspecting tourists (as well as longtime residents) avoid the ghetto in cities across America.
The name of the app — ‘Avoid The Ghetto’ — doesn’t sit well with critics who fear the app will drive tourists away, thereby hurting the economy in impoverished areas.
“It’s appalling,” says Sarah E. Chinn, author of ‘Technology and the Logic of American Racism.
“Of course an application like this defines crime pretty narrowly, since all crimes happen in all kinds of neighborhoods,” she told AOL. “I can’t imagine that there aren’t perpetrators of domestic violence, petty and insignificant drug possession, fraud, theft, and rape in every area.”
The ‘Avoid The Ghetto’ app is still in the development stage, but it already has the NAACP up in arms.
“Can you imagine me not being able to go to Martin Luther King Boulevard because my GPS says that’s a dangerous crime area?,” said NAACP President Juanita Wallace in an interview with CBS. “I can’t even imagine that,” she added.
Residents of Atlanta are already keen on avoiding certain areas of the city at night. Which creates another problem: hardened criminals are forced to leave their familiar surroundings in the hood to catch the Marta train to Buckhead where they hunt their next victims. Is there an app for that?