Thanks to Peter Greene for letting me know about the Shot Spotter, a gimmick sold in Little Rock and other police departments. It uses, among other things, a microphone to transmit the sound of gunshots to police, which it claims is a crime-solving tool.

Summary of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project report:

It is a money maker for retailers. Through March, ShotSpotter has sold its technology to 130 cities, often funded by the American Rescue Plan. Instead of reducing the financial burden, the money is being spent on police technology, the report says.

Little Rock has partnered with ShotSpotter since 2018 for a contract that is worth about $300,000 a year. The UALR study came without concrete evidence of its value and some city officials were skeptical. The police do not say exactly where they have been sent, but from the moment they are mentioned, they seem to be in extreme poverty, especially in the villages of the Black center. In several cases, police have located shooting victims or identified suspects after checking a ShotSpotter alert.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. has talked about expanding the use of ShotSpotter. The report comes to another point about crime, which is closely related to other aspects of the mayor’s emphasis:

American cities prioritize ending and reducing gun violence. They go wrong when they turn to ShotSpotter’s gun monitoring technology instead of programs that address the root causes of gun violence.

On a simple level, I don’t understand how learning to shoot BACK reduces gun violence.

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