ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection program; it basically uses small microphones to tell you where gunshots came from and alerts law enforcement to gun crime.
The problem is ShotSpotter barely works and has moreover landed innocent people in jail. It also hasn’t put a dent in gun crime, which is very much on the rise across this country.
Just recently, the city of Chicago concluded that ShotSpotter is not “effective” in stopping gun crime and is a waste of money. Considering the city has spent millions on it, it’s no wonder they’re trying to shut down such a wasteful system.
ShotSpotter’s Shoddy Record
In Chicago alone, ShotSpotter has a terrible record. The city deals with a huge amount of gun crime and shootings every day, so a system that could help get police to the scene and catch criminals sounds great.
The problem is that police statistics show that in the last year and a half, only around 10% of ShotSpotter gunshot alerts put out in Chicago were actually gunshots.
That’s a pretty bad batting average, even for the imperfect science of detecting gunshots. ShotSpotter is especially controversial in Chicago; its alert sent cops to the scene of the shooting of preteen Adam Toledo. Toledo wasn’t firing a gun, but was killed anyway by cops.
ShotSpotter is inaccurate.
ShotSpotter is too secretive.
ShotSpotter changes findings that support police claims.
ShotSpotter enables police to arrest people for scant evidence.
ShotSpotter is dangerous.
ShotSpotter does not work. https://t.co/5Vlza2hf3w
— EFF (@EFF) August 23, 2021
ShotSpotter’s Not Working
ShotSpotter is another liberal and nanny state attempt to solve gun crime that just doesn’t work. The case of Michael Williams is a perfect example.
He was jailed on ShotSpotter evidence for killing a man in his car and spent a year behind bars. However, he was recently let out since there’s no substantive proof he did it.
People like far left Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot praise ShotSpotter and shovel taxpayer money towards it. That’s because it does that thing that liberals crave of giving the illusion of safety and being a great person when that isn’t the reality.
Having a 10% success rate is not acceptable for any technology which can land you in jail or lead to someone being killed. It’s shocking that in 2021 America, I would have to point that out, but here we are.
“I kept trying to figure out, how can they get away with using the technology like that against me?” @AP investigated ShotSpotter's algorithm-based gunshot detection system. My latest with @mtarm @julietlinderman @garanceburke 🙏 @pulitzercenter support: https://t.co/0vJmq9q4QJ
— Martha Mendoza (@mendozamartha) August 19, 2021
ShotSpotter Passes the Buck
The head of ShotSpotter is a man called Ralph Clark. He’s refused to comment on how ShotSpotter uses AI to run its systems and how exactly ShotSpotter categorizes gunshot sounds and decides whether or not they’re the real deal.
There needs to be an investigation of ShotSpotter and a lot more insight and interrogation about exactly how their technology works. The public must know what the liability can be if ShotSpotter is wrong.
Police need to stop putting money into this technology and stop trusting it. We must demand far more from companies like ShotSpotter if they want to earn the trust of law enforcement.