GPS Will Now Tell You You're In A 'Bad' Neighborhood

from the now-that's-a-point-of-interest dept

While various GPS systems are competing to provide better, more interesting or more detailed “points of interest,” it appears that Honda is going even further. Its new GPS system will also warn drivers when they’re in a “bad neighborhood” where there’s a high crime rate, and where their cars may be more likely to be vandalized or stolen. Right now, the product is only targeted at the Japanese market, but it’s likely to eventually make it to the US. What will be worth watching is how communities respond if they’re listed in GPS systems as being bad neighborhoods. These days, such designations are usually made by random people — but having it in a GPS system (especially given how slavishly some listen to what their GPS tells them) may make it seem more “official.” While I can imagine some communities getting angry about the designation, some might try to improve their reputations, which could have a very positive end result. Of course, when talking about American communities, that’s probably not the case. They’ll probably just sue, claiming defamation.

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Comments on “GPS Will Now Tell You You're In A 'Bad' Neighborhood”

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Joe (profile) says:

Re: Yes lawsuits will hit in the US

Not that they should sue but people will…they will smell the money and lawyers will break out a buffett for class action suits. doesn’t make it right, our legal system definitely needs a revamp.

Suits will most likely range from Racial discrimination to defamation leading to financial loss of property value for communities.

Alex says:

Re: Re:

You shouldn’t assume that anything is 100% probable. This defies the laws of mathematics.

You are right though. There is a high chance of this. Especially considering the ridiculousness of some folks in the county.

But stating facts such as a crime rate in the area isn’t any different than looking them up on the inet. Not discriminating. Math doesn’t discriminate.

JackieTreehorn says:


It is about time that crime rates are incorporated into a GPS. Certainly there will be those that cry about profiling but as this is not focused at a specific “entity,” rather an “area” no lawsuit would ever stand.

Ultimately, what will happen is crime statistics (and other statistics) will be integrated and a threshold set by the user for the GPS to notify once the threshold is met. Simple, legal, and effective.

Shaniac says:

I have prior art

I have to admit this is a very interesting set of data to include in any navigation calculation, I would be willing to bet they are in violation of more than a few patents…one of which is mine. But they are not selling it in the states so I am not worried yet. Looking at the details I think they are focusing on where you park not the route you drive.

Mine was filed after a GPS told me to walk through a very rough neighborhood at night, but at the time I didn’t know it was bad.

Anonymous Coward says:

if im a criminal, i get one and go to nonproblem areas and try to restore balance to the random crime problem. i dont think will be alone in this.

also will we see paople parking right at the borders of bad places lik if i park 1/2 a block down from where i am now my car is in a less dangerus place.

wow how about real time calculations of the odds of your car being stolen. in vancouver honda civics are the most stolen vehicle. the system can look at the area match with the theft statistics and inform you that if you park here your car will have a 75% chance of being stolen, but if you park 1/2 a block back the chance is 25%. then we can have the city take that info and do tricky stuff like the parking meter at the 25% mark is triple the price

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A visit to the Local Brothel

Actually, the on-board diagnostics that technicians plug-in to and receive data from your car can already report (in some cars) the last N-minutes of engine activity and gearing. Software can then determine your speed for those last N-minutes. Conceivably, with a box and a warrant, an officer could “jack in” to your car and GPS and start issuing tickets. Don’t be surprised that capability becomes wireless and required in order to register a vehicle. Watch the opening minutes of the remake to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea to see a motorcycle rider automatically issued a citation.

chris (profile) says:

just call it what it is

instead of calling it a “bad” neighborhood, just call it a “high crime area”. the fact that “high crime areas” are often “low income” and “minority” neighborhoods is peripheral to the issue, issue warnings based on crime and accident statistics and not ethnicity or income statistics.

besides, if you have a GPS and a car worth stealing, you probably never leave your gated community except to drive to work where you park in a secure garage, so the odds of coming into contact with a “bad” neighborhood are slim. how’s that for profiling?

SilentMountain says:

It depends...

How this is perceived depends on how the information is presented and framed. A unit that says “entering a bad neighborhood” would probably elicit more indignation than “entering area with high crime rate”. One is a judgment that can lead to arguments of libel, the other is a statement of statistical information. Leave it up to the driver to form a judgment based on the facts.

Lucretious (profile) says:

If its based on facts, then how can people sue over discrimination? Crimes investigated by the police are public knowledge, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with relaying this information.

Go announce on several high profile blogs that blacks are responsible for the majority of violent crime (fluctuating between 72-83%) and you’ll be showed just how “wrong” it is even though the stats are fully accurate.

Tourist says:

I want this for my next US trip!

I would have no need for it where I live. The bad areas in town are not bad enough to justify such a device. I can even walk in the worst areas in the capitcal city, at night, without any worries.

However, when traveling to the US, driving in major cities is very scary. I have NO idea where the bad parts of LA, Dallas etc is. We ended up in some wrong place in Texas and a couple of people tried to run us off the road. I am so glad I had rented a really good car…

a thought says:

If this allows the end user to “customize” what he or she thinks is “bad” for him or herself, then this would work no differently than, say, how a certain manufacturer’s radar detector would “lock-out” false radar alerts based upon the user’s inputs.

On the other hand, these so-called “technologies” upon which we humans become reliant are really just robbing us of our common sense…

You know says:

It's about time!

Way too often, both GPS and direction websites have lead me into some pretty sketchy areas of cities that I am not familiar with. If you travel to large cities often, I think this is about time!

I don’t see how any law suits would hold up:

1. The areas are based on “crime statistics”. The only profiling here is based on facts, not judgements or prejudices.
2. The GPS doesn’t guarantee your car won’t be stolen, it just gives you a probability.

I can’t wait for mapquest and/or yahoo maps to start giving this option, that would be great! I honestly don’t see why they don’t now.

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