- by theguardian
- 24 Mar 2023
The city of Detroit is moving forward with a $7m expansion of its contract with ShotSpotter, after weeks of debate on its work with the controversial surveillance company.
The Detroit city council voted five to four on Tuesday to expand the geographic footprint of ShotSpotter in the city throughout the next four years.
The vote had been postponed on multiple occasions, most recently to address concerns of community and city council members about an initial plan to use Covid relief money to fund the extension of the existing $1.5m contract.
ShotSpotter sells a system of microphones that alerts police when gunshot sounds are detected and triangulates the location of where the shots took place.
The company claims its technology, which is active in more than 120 cities in the US, detects gunshots accurately 97% of the time. Police departments and elected officials across the US, including in Detroit, have used that claim to argue the technology could help curb gun violence.
Local officials had argued the technology could help reduce shootings. In August, the mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, argued that an expansion of ShotSpotter could have prevented a 29 August shooting that left three people dead and one injured by notifying police sooner.
But privacy advocates, city council members who voted against the expansion and some local community organizations argued the system is much less effective than police and local officials give it credit for.
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