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Chicago To Halt Controversial Use Of Gunfire Detection Tech

ShotSpotter is a surveillance technology that uses acoustic sensors to detect and locate gunshots, alerting law enforcement in real-time. But it's been met with controversy for not only being very costly, but allegedly inaccurate, ineffective, and even biased, NPR reports. On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who campaigned against ShotSpotter, announced that the city won't be renewing its contract with SoundThinking (formerly called ShotSpotter), the company behind the service. While the company says ShotSpotter is in operation in more than 150 U.S. cities, some cities such as Seattle and Cleveland have debated its efficacy. Chicago will stop using ShotSpotter in September. The city has spent about $49 million on it since 2018.

In addition, the Chicago Police Department said it will "implement new training and further develop response models to gun violence that ultimately reduce shootings and increase accountability." Johnson, who took office last year, had vowed to end the contract during his time as a candidate, saying that "Chicago spends $9 million a year on ShotSpotter despite clear evidence it is unreliable and overly susceptible to human error." His campaign website said the expensive technology played a "pivotal role" in the 2021 killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by police. The boy was fatally shot during early morning hours in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood after the officer responded to a ShotSpotter notice of several shots fired. "Brandon Johnson will end the ShotSpotter contract and invest in new resources that go after illegal guns without physically stopping and frisking Chicagoans on the street," the campaign said.


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