Woman shot dead by drug gang after following Waze app's directions to wrong destination

In Brazil, a 70-year-old woman was killed when directions she followed from the driving app Waze led her and her husband into a neighborhood controlled by a violent drug gang. The destination they meant to go to? A beach area popular with tourists, which was in the opposite direction.

Regina Murmura and her husband.

Regina Murmura and her husband.

Mr. Murmura, who drove his wife Regina to a hospital where she died, says it's a miracle he survived.

“When I got out, and the guy came with a gun, the best thing he could have done, to me, would have been to put me out and end it,” he told reporters at the cemetery.

Map of the drivers' intended destination, and where they ended up.

Map of the drivers' intended destination, and where they ended up.

Snip from The Telegraph:

Regina Murmura and her husband Francisco, 69, had been trying to get to a beach in Niteroi, Rio, when they accidentally entered the gang-controlled Caramujo favela on Saturday.

Police told local media the couple had been using navigation app Waze to reach the seafront street of Avenida Quintino Bocaiúva in the south of Niteroi.

But the directions took them to Rua Quintino Bocaiúva inside the favela in the north of the bay city, where they came under fire from drug traffickers.

Bullet holes in the couple's  Citroen. Photo: Globo News

Bullet holes in the couple's Citroen. Photo: Globo News

Kashmir Hill at Fusion:

If it’s a matter of human error, and the couple typed the wrong address into a navigation system, it seems inaccurate to blame the app, unless we expect mapping apps to warn us when we’re entering dangerous areas. Waze does warn drivers about police (who might ticket them), based on tips from users, but not about the fact that they’re entering a neighborhood with frequent gang shootings. If it did, it would surely be controversial. When an app launched last year that offered to warn people about “sketchy” areas as crowd-sourced from its users, it was criticized for basically evolving into a tool that steered people away from non-white parts of town.

“Unfortunately it’s hard to prevent drivers from navigating to a dangerous neighborhood if it’s the destination they select,” Waze told CNN. “Citizens who reside in these areas need to be able to get home.”

If the couple, however, typed the correct address into Waze and it defaulted to the wrong one—something that has certainly happened to directions app users before—then whether there’s some kind of fault there is cloudier. Full blame, of course, goes to the person who decided to shoot at a married couple trying to find their way to the beach.