Detroit began using the ShotSpotter technology in March of 2021 and has seen tremendous success. The city recently announced that they want to expand the program using $7 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. The program was initially launched on the city’s far east and far west sides in a 6-square-mile-radius.
How ShotSpotter Works
ShotSpotter uses microphones and sensors to pick up on sounds of gunfire in real-time. This data is sent to analysts who provide police with the information. This allows police to respond to shootings sooner and hopefully solve crimes faster. “The big pro I have seen is that allows the police to respond to shootings faster, especially in neighborhoods where people might not be super likely to call the police to report a shooting,” Huffman says.
Cons to ShotSpotter in Detroit
When ShotSpotter is used in a community that already has a reputation for being unsafe, it makes the community’s reputation even worse. This could result in poor outcomes for the city. In addition, Huffman explains that there is no way to hold privately owned companies responsible for false alarms in the ShotSpotter technology. This could result in lawsuits, false arrests, and more.
How the Funds Will Be Used
The city of Detroit has not yet explained how it will spend the $7 million ARPA funds. However, Michiganders can learn more about how ShotSpotter is and will be used in Detroit by attending the Board of Police Commissioners meetings.
ShotSpotter is Not Infallible
Increased police attention based on ShotSpotter could lead to an increase in arrests and criminal charges. No system is perfect, so it is crucial to make sure you have an experienced defense attorney ensuring your rights are protected and the burden of proof remains on the prosecution’s shoulders.