In a surprising twist of irony, a D.C. news crew was robbed while they were doing a story on an app that identifies “sketchy” neighborhoods. The news crew made sure they had locked their van doors while out in the neighborhood which the app identified as "sketchy." As reported by CBS News today, crew members were shocked when they returned to find that the van had been burglarized while they were out conducting interviews. Burglars stole most of the crew's gear, which included several backpacks full of electronic devices and cameras worth thousands of dollars.
One of the news crew members, WUSA9 reporter Mola Lenghi, said: "We were doing a story on an app that describes ‘sketchy’ neighborhoods. It led us to the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest, and I’m not going to call it a ‘sketchy’ neighborhood, but as folks were telling us that it was a good neighborhood, and that not much activity happens around there — as that was being told to us, our van was being robbed.” Lenghi continued...“We got back to the news van and noticed that the lock was popped out. Got in there, and noticed that all of our stuff was gone. I had a backpack full of electronics.”
Among the items stolen was a purse, which ended up being a lucky break for the crew because they were able track the phone that was in it by using the "Find my iPhone' app. The phone and a few other of the crew members belongings were retrieved from nearby dumpsters. The entire crew returned to WUSA9's broadcast house unharmed.
As Business Insider points out, while the D.C. news crew didn't specifically name the app they were reporting on, it shares similarities with SketchFactor, a controversial app that was recently featured in several reports as an app with a racist connotation. Many say SketchFactor is a racist app because it labels areas sketchy based on race or class.
Back in August of last year, A KGO-TV news crew was robbed at gunpoint of camera equipment while accompanied by a security guard in West Oakland in broad daylight. The robbers fled with camera equipment. None of the robbery victims was injured. More on that story in the video above this article.