The 30-something Tallahassee man responsible for GhettoTracker.com sure is a fickle fucker. In response to all the "negative baggage" that came with inviting users to mark off which ghettos to avoid—no actual crime data necessary—he relaunched as "Good Part of Town." Then he took down the site because segregating lower-income neighborhoods "wasn't worth the trouble." Now, he's back and as bigoted as ever!
The message on the homepage now says, "We're revamping the site to make it even better. Please check back soon!" with a quote from a "private Internet business" called USA Tourist to bolster the idea that he's trying to help travelers avoid unsafe areas.
But once again this enterprising Floridian tech bro exposes his prejudices. This time by including a topical scene from the 1983 film National Lampoon's Vacation (above) where Chevy Chase drives his family through a poor black crime-ridden neighborhood.
There's more where that came from: the tumblr Public Shaming has screengrabs from GhettoTracker's now deleted Facebook page. One of the images he shared of kids trying to cool off in a makeshift swimming pool is not an example from an American "ghetto." Rather, it appears to have originated on a disgusting online forum called Chimpmania when a poster named I H8 NI***RS shared a photo of Aboriginal kids in Australia along with a vile, racist rant (NSFW). I'm not saying that's where he got the image from, just that the man who set out to identify "ghettos" doesn't much care to check his sources.
There are already a number of resources and travel guides, like City Data, to help people concerned about safety search cities based on crime rates and other data points. It should be obvious from the site's social media presence that GhettoTracker was not trying to be one of them.
When I originally interviewed the creator by email, the Tallahassee resident denied reports on Twitter that he was Casey Smith, the owner of Tallahassee Web Design whose company name originally appeared at the bottom of GhettoTracker.com. In an email to Gawker, Smith also denied that he was responsible for the site, claiming he worked on it for a client. However, Ars Technica editor-at-large Jacqui Chen says Smith was still able to "write thousands of words to speak on behalf of this so-called 'client.'"
I emailed Smith and GhettoTracker's "anonymous" creator to ask again if they were the same person. One thing's for certain: whoever made it, Good Part of Town is an ugly site—inside and out.
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[Facebook screengrab via Public Shaming]