After a yearlong pilot program, the San Diego Police Department has decided to stick with a gunshot detection system that automatically informs officers of shootings, even if no one calls them in.
ShotSpotter, which uses a network of audio sensors to determine where and when shootings take place, was installed in four San Diego communities in November 2016 — Lincoln Park, Valencia Park, O’Farrell and Skyline.
Police leaders said the system has allowed officers to respond more quickly to shootings and has provided information that helps officers stay safe. In its first year, the system cost $254,000, paid for with asset forfeiture funds. It is expected to cost $235,300 in its second year.
Residents who have long been critical of the system voiced concern about the technology, saying it may lead to over-policing in communities of color and arguing that it hasn’t been particularly effective in catching criminals or solving crimes.
They also said the system was installed with little to no community input.
“This does not connect you to community in a way that builds trust,” said community member Tasha Williamson. “This had no community buy-in before it was implemented and extremely little to continue.”