Have you ever been in a new city and somehow ended up in a sketchy part of town? Wouldn’t it have been nice to know about those areas before randomly landing there? Every city, no matter where you go, has a sketchy neighborhood. These places are almost impossible to avoid if you don’t have someone or something steering you clear of them. No one wants to feel threatened or scared when embarking on a trip to an unfamiliar location. That’s why Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington have created Sketch Factor – a real-time mapping system that tells you when you are stepping into a “sketchy” hood.

The app is genius. It incorporates crime reports with mapping data and matches it with personal accountings of sketchy experiences. When you open the app, you can immediately detect if you are in an unsafe area based on those three factors. The map color-codes each block using red as an indicator to watch your back and green as a sign that no sketchy incidents have been reported. “We’re giving the experience of a city to the user, which is a much more fun and interesting way to engage with public safety that has not been done before,” McGuire tells MiLLENNiAL.


How Sketch Factor Works

The app relies on user engagement to be effective. Each posting is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 to assess how sketchy the user believes the story to be. These ratings then prioritize what will be most relevant for others to know about the environment. McGuire adds, “Users interact with the content based on what they rank as sketchy and then Sketch Factor ranks those stories based on user preferences.” Since the app also incorporates Google Maps, it provides directions that evaluate the least sketchy way possible with color codes. Each route is highlighted in a different color based on “sketchiness.”

And although these sketch reports may appear to have a negative effect on businesses that operate within these areas, Herrington insists the app is granular and says, “We do a good job to not show any particular neighborhood as red verse green…we want to know what block has a lot of street harassment and what block has no lighting on it.” Instead of hurting businesses, the cofounders are trying to use Sketch Factor as a means of opening new avenues to improve brand images while also shedding light on the neighborhood. They believe that the inherent nature of the app will expose users to new bars, restaurants, and shops.

Sketch Factor reports real experiences

It’s no secret that Millennials are the prime demographic for this app. While most Millennial women will find Sketch Factor incredibly beneficial to maintain personal safety, Millennial men are equally enjoying this product. As Herrington points out “there is certainly some bro-humor” added to the stories that are uploaded. This keeps the app fresh, light, and intriguing. Users will naturally want to read the funny stories of things others have witnessed or experienced themselves.

Sketch Factor is now available in the App Store for iPhone and will soon be available on Google Play for Android. However, beta testers have already begun establishing this app in cities such as Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. You too could bring attention to your city by downloading the app today or regularly checking in to see the debut for Android.

Millennial Magazine - Allison McGuire and Daniel Harrington - Anna Watts Photography

With information being so readily accessible these days, it only makes sense that an app like Sketch Factor would be on the market to help avoid unnecessary harm. To learn more about Sketch Factor visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Grab the MiLLENNiAL Monthly

We care about your inbox. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive a little dose of aspirational culture, exclusive invites, and big company announcements.

Britt Hysen


Los Angeles

Britt Hysen is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of MiLLENNiAL. In addition to being a media entrepreneur, Britt is a passionate humanitarian, international speaker, and an expert on all things related to the global millennial.

All posts by Britt Hysen

Related posts

comments powered by Disqus