Episode 97: Porch Pirate Panic and the Paranoid Racism of Snitch Apps

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By Citations Needed, Nima Shirazi, and Adam Johnson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Everywhere we turn, local media — TV, digital, radio — is constantly telling us about the scourge of crime lurking around every corner. This, of course, is not new. It’s been the basis of the local news business model since the 1970s.

But what is new is the rise of surveillance and snitch apps like Amazon’s Ring doorbell systems and geo-local social media like Nextdoor. They are funded by real estate and other gentrifying interests working hand in glove with police to provide a grossly distorted, inflated and hyped-up vision of crime.

One of the major factors fueling this misconception is the feedback loop where media — both traditional and social — provide the ideological content for the forces of gentrification. Police focus their “law enforcement” in low income areas, local news reports on scourges of crime based on police sources, then both pressure and reinforce over-policing of communities of color, namely those getting in the way of real estate interests' designs––All animated by an increase in police-backed surveillance tech like Amazon’s Ring.

On this episode we will break down these pro-carceral interests, how they create a self-reinforcing cycle of racist paranoia and how local “crime” reporting plays a role in creating this wildly distorted perception of “crime.”

We are joined by two guests: Sarah Lustbader, senior legal counsel at The Justice Collaborative, and Steven Renderos, co-director of MediaJustice.

116 episodes