Public Safety Apps May Be Tools to Advance Racism – MDCLC

Kimberly2 1 Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

Missouri residents may believe that neighborhood crime apps and other recording devices keep them safe. However, it may simply scare them into thinking that crime is prevalent in their area when it may not be. It may also lead to enhancing stereotypes about minorities and other groups who may be incorrectly labeled as criminals. In many cases, police departments use information from these apps and other recording devices when developing law enforcement plans.

Therefore, they may be more likely to target minorities or areas where minorities are most likely to live. If a minority does interact with police, there is a chance that the individual could be shot or taken into custody based on a misunderstanding. Homeless individuals may also be stereotyped as criminals or an otherwise undesirable group of people within a community. This can also increase their risk of potentially hostile interactions with police officers.

An app called SketchFactor was called out for being nothing more than a way to avoid minority neighborhoods. Eventually, the app had to be retooled and used for a different purpose after an outcry that occurred on Twitter. It is thought that newer services such as Ring will also have to refocus their mission if their potential to spur racist behavior is brought to the public’s attention.

Individuals who are charged with a crime may face a variety of penalties, including a jail sentence, a fine or probation. A criminal defense attorney may work to reduce or eliminate those or other penalties a person may face if convicted. This may be done by casting doubt on eyewitness testimony or video footage used to charge an individual. If a person’s rights were violated during an investigation, evidence collected because of such a violation may be suppressed at trial.

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