"[It's] manufacturing consent for increased policing."
A police reform group says the cameras cops are using to automatically detect and report gun shots should be taken down, citing their proclivity for picking up the sound of slamming doors instead.
According to a new Axios report, Campaign Zero is lobbying local city governments to stop using the tech, called ShotSpotter, after a year-long study. The group says ShotSpotter doesn’t significantly reduce gun violence, rarely leads to physical evidence a gun was fired, increases the likelihood of police violence, and costs tax payers millions.
The evidence seems to support Campaign Zero’s allegations.
Just last month a local Massachusetts school was put briefly into a full lockdown after ShotSpotter was alerted by fireworks rather than gun shots. In 2021, Chicago’s Inspector General published a report finding ShotSpotter only results in physical evidence of a gun crime about 9 percent of the time. Another Chicago study found that 86 percent of ShotSpotter alerts led to no report of any crime at all, despite every sound being manually reviewed by a human before police deployment.
The company, however, says it isn’t causing additional harm.
“There is zero data supporting the claim that ShotSpotter puts police on higher alert than a 911 call and, thus, creates dangerous situations,” a spokesperson said in a statement made to Axios.
Yesterday, A Durham, NC council member summed it up in yesterday’s interview about the faulty tech published in Indy Week.
“What ShotSpotter is effective at is manufacturing consent for increased policing,” Jillian Johnson told the pub. “It increases the number of times that police are called.”
Gun violence is a serious issue, but multi-million dollar contracts for half-baked tech probably aren’t the solution.
More on developing machines: MIT Trained a Robot to Dress You Like a Cartoon Mad Scientist