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TV crew checking crime app in Washington has van robbed

(Reuters) - A TV news van was robbed in Washington while its crew was reporting on a smartphone crime app that rates bad neighborhoods, the station reported.

CBS affiliate WUSA parked a news van in northwest Washington late on Friday to report on the new iPhone app SketchFactor. When the crew returned to the van, the lock was gone, along with electronics, phones, computers and cameras, WUSA said.

The news crew tracked down some of the gear in two dumpsters using an iPhone device, the station reported over the weekend.

SketchFactor uses public data, such as crime records, and crowdsourced information. Users then rank neighborhoods from 1 to 5, with 5 the most "sketchy," or dangerous.

Since the app launched last week, critics have accused the makers, both former Washington residents, of being racist by giving high ratings to low-income neighborhoods.

"We're setting the record straight," SketchFactor said in a statement responding to the accusations. "SketchFactor is a tool for anyone, anywhere, at any time."

(Reporting by John Clarke; Editing by Ian Simpson and Jim Loney)

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