Featured Leaders want to use ShotSpotter technology to address trauma in Baltimore

Published on November 4th, 2021 📆 | 5365 Views ⚑

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Leaders want to use ShotSpotter technology to address trauma in Baltimore

Baltimore officials approved a contract extension for the shot-spotter system during the city’s Board of Estimates meeting Wednesday. Police use the technology to collect evidence when shots are fired, but the argument that won the day was a plan to use the data to address trauma.It is an unfortunate fact of life in too many Baltimore neighborhoods — gunfire. Just the sound, city officials said Wednesday, can do harm.”One of the studies our office looked at has found that 65% of our young people who are indirectly exposed to community gun violence by hearing gunshots or witnessing a shooting reported becoming extremely distressed,” the Mayor’s Office Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Director Shantay Jackson said.”Like being less likely to go outside alone, avoiding certain locations, staying home from school altogether and carrying guns for protection,” Jackson said.Jackson presented a new plan for the use of ShotSpotter technology, in use in Baltimore since 2018 by police to collect gunshot evidence. The idea, she said, is to use the data to dispatch other services to address trauma.”Anywhere from 14 to 45 days, a particular neighborhood would see a prolonged engagement with those agencies, community-based organizations and assets,” she said.Police call ShotSpotter a valuable tool to produce leads and link cases. Critics argue it’s an ineffective use of money.Mayor Brandon Scott said he was skeptical but is open to using the data in broader ways — and mindful of a troubling stat — 88% of shots fired do not have corresponding 911 call.”This really is about getting to victims no one is calling for. And I just want people to imagine laying on the street or alley where you can’t call for yourself,” Scott said.The Board of Estimates approved a $759,000 extension of the ShotSpotter contract without dissent.One unanswered question — can police directly link evidence collected from ShotSpotter alerts to clearing cases? Not easily, a commander said, due to outdated record keeping. But a new system, he said, will keep track.

Baltimore officials approved a contract extension for the shot-spotter system during the city’s Board of Estimates meeting Wednesday.

Police use the technology to collect evidence when shots are fired, but the argument that won the day was a plan to use the data to address trauma.

It is an unfortunate fact of life in too many Baltimore neighborhoods — gunfire. Just the sound, city officials said Wednesday, can do harm.

“One of the studies our office looked at has found that 65% of our young people who are indirectly exposed to community gun violence by hearing gunshots or witnessing a shooting reported becoming extremely distressed,” the Mayor’s Office Neighborhood Safety and Engagement Director Shantay Jackson said.

“Like being less likely to go outside alone, avoiding certain locations, staying home from school altogether and carrying guns for protection,” Jackson said.

Jackson presented a new plan for the use of ShotSpotter technology, in use in Baltimore since 2018 by police to collect gunshot evidence. The idea, she said, is to use the data to dispatch other services to address trauma.

“Anywhere from 14 to 45 days, a particular neighborhood would see a prolonged engagement with those agencies, community-based organizations and assets,” she said.

Police call ShotSpotter a valuable tool to produce leads and link cases. Critics argue it’s an ineffective use of money.

Mayor Brandon Scott said he was skeptical but is open to using the data in broader ways — and mindful of a troubling stat — 88% of shots fired do not have corresponding 911 call.

“This really is about getting to victims no one is calling for. And I just want people to imagine laying on the street or alley where you can’t call for yourself,” Scott said.

The Board of Estimates approved a $759,000 extension of the ShotSpotter contract without dissent.

One unanswered question — can police directly link evidence collected from ShotSpotter alerts to clearing cases? Not easily, a commander said, due to outdated record keeping. But a new system, he said, will keep track.

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