We’ve all heard the stories about how location based services such as FourSquare are a potential tool for people who want to burglarize your house while you’re away and checked in elsewhere. It’s all useless fearmongering if you ask me. (Also, the website Please Rob Me is inherently bogus; it’s only a robbery if someone’s home.)
FearSquare, on the other hand, is a useful tool, albeit a creepy one. The website, which launched in the United Kingdom and hopes to add other countries soon, looks at your last 10 check-ins on FourSquare and tells you how many crimes — robberies, violence and “anti-social” behavior — have been committed in those locations. Data comes from the UK Police Crime Statistics database.
“The intention is to give you a uniquely individual look at the levels and types of crimes you are exposed to in your daily life,” the website says.
In addition to looking at your own check-ins, you can peruse the leaderboards to see who lives the most dangerously. What I’d really like to see, however, is some kind of map that shows the prevalence of crime at popular hangouts.
FearSquare was created by the Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre, a group that studies technology’s effects on society. In addition to helping people get a sense of crime in their areas, the group wrote on its blog that FearSquare “represents a unique opportunity to evaluate peoples’ perceptions and fear of crime against the real Police statistics.”
Sure beats telling people that publishing check-in data invites more burglaries.