DETROIT – It is an audio surveillance system that recognizes the sound of gunfire, and Monday (June 6), ‘ShotSpotter’ is only being used in two of Detroit’s precincts. Still, the city wants to expand using $7 million in Federal COVID Relief Funds.
It was on the council’s agenda Monday by mistake, so there wasn’t a vote or much discussion.
The city wants much more input from residents before they decide, and Local 4 wanted to know what residents who live in a ShotSpotter neighborhood think about it.
Sandra Turner-Handy is the President of the Community Relations Council in the 9th Precinct.
She wants what most of us do: a safe place to live and be.
“Here in the 9th, we have a stigma that we are the most violent zip code in the city,” said Turner-Handy.
Turner-Handy hopes to change that perception, and she thinks ShotSpotter will help.
“It does make me feel safer,” Turner-Handy said. “A lot of residents thought it’d be a way to target people of color in the community, but what we’ve come to realize as residents is that we want the shooting to stop.”
As the city council decides whether to expand the ShotSpotter system, Detroit police Monday night detailed the difference it has already made in the 8th and 9th precincts.
From March of 2021 to May of this year, there have been over 5000 incidents.
“There’s been just about 5000 incidents,” said Tony O’Rourke with Detroit police. “There have been almost 1000 shell casings recovered.”
More than 90 arrests were made, 250 guns have been recovered, and over 500-guns have been identified in connection to other shootings.
Still, not everyone is convinced that the new technology is worth it.
“There’s a lot of data from research institutions like Aker and other places that shows this technology is really faulty,” said a woman.
“At this time, there’s so many other things we need in the community, and this is not one that I support,” said Sylvia L. Green.
An important note. ShotSpotter does not use cameras or facial recognition technology. It zeros in on the sound of gunshots and pinpoints where exactly those shots came from.
There are still plenty of opportunities for residents to get more information, and there are several more informational meetings planned in communities throughout the city.
If the council votes to expand the program, it would cover an additional 28 miles of the city.
If you’d like to give your input or learn more, you can join in on any of the meetings below.
Upcoming meetings where ShotSpotter will be explained, questions answered:
- Tuesday, June 14 - 6 p.m., 4th Precinct Community Relations meeting, at 4th Precinct.
- Tuesday, June 14 - 6 p.m., 11th Precinct Community Relations meeting, on Zoom.
- Monday, June 20 - 5 p.m., City Wide DONcast, on Zoom.
- Monday, June 27 - 6:30 p.m., 8th Precinct Community Relations meeting, at 8th Precinct.
- Wednesday, June 29 - 7 p.m., 6th Precinct Community Relations meeting, on zoom.
- Thursday, July 7 - 7 p.m., 9th Precinct Community Relations meeting, at Heilmann Rec Center.