Akron Council Considers Gunshot Tracking System

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By Tim Rudell, WKSU

Akron's city council is considering adding a high-tech surveillance system that detects gunfire and alerts police.  A representative from ShotSpotter made a presentation to councilmembers last night.  Company representative Ron Teachman told a City Council committee that without ShotSpotter, four of five gunfire incidents are typically not located by police, but with it, shootings have dropped as much as 40 percent. Council member Veronica Sims said that was encouraging, as was Teachman’s answers to concerns about police intrusiveness with ShotSpotter. 

"Really, exploring whether we have the right to collect the data that we need to deploy the limited resources that we have to help people feel safer in their neighborhoods," she said.

The cost of ShotSpotter for a three-square-mile area averages about $200,000 a year.

An analysis by Forbes in 2016 found that cities that used Shot Spotter received more reports of gunfire but were unable in most cases to determine the source or make arrests.  ShotSpotter officials told Forbes the data did not account for potential evidence the technology can direct police to, such as shell casings, that could be used in future criminal prosecutions.

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