Apr 8, 2022 - News

ShotSpotter criticized by national police reform group

Cop on a computer
A Chicago police officer monitors ShotSpotter and other crime detection programs at the 7th District Strategic Decision Support Center. Photo: Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

A national police reform group wants cities to stop using ShotSpotter, a service that identifies potential gun shots to theoretically alert police to crimes faster than 911, Axios' Russell Contreras reports.

Why it matters: Chicago's 117-mile ShotSpotter system is one of the largest in the nation and has faced local scrutiny since its adoption in 2018.

  • Last summer, Chicago's Inspector General issued a report saying the city's "ShotSpotter alerts rarely produce documented evidence of a gun-related crime, investigatory stop, or recovery of a firearm."

Yes, but: Despite the criticism, city officials quietly re-upped the $33 million ShotSpotter contract through August 2023.

The other side: Some City Council members, including freshly announced mayoral candidate Ald. Ray L贸pez, have defended the program.

  • "The last thing any of us want to do is strip technology our officers rely on to keep our residents safe," L贸pez told ABC-7 last November.
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