Durham holds public meetings on ShotSpotter technology starting this fall :: WRAL.com

— The Durham Police Department will answer questions from the public about new technology aimed at addressing gun violence in the coming weeks.

In September and October, the City of Durham will hold a series of community meetings so stakeholders can share their thoughts on ShotSpotter’s arrival in Durham, set for November.

ShotSpotter is a technology that uses sensors to detect gunshots, alerting police without the need for 911 calls. Unlike other forms of police surveillance, ShotSpotter uses only audio to detect gunshots.

A public information meeting scheduled for Sept. 12 was canceled. Other meetings will be held over the next month, including at:

  • September 16, 2022, 2:00 p.m.: Mcdougald Terrace Community (location TBD)
  • October 8, 2022, at 9:30 a.m.: Lyon Park Community and Recreation Center, 1309 Halley St.
  • Future dates to be announced.

A one-year pilot program for ShotSpotter is set to launch in November in three square miles of east and southeast Durham, including parts of Bowen Street, North Carolina Highway 55 and North Alston Boulevard. The area for the pilot program was selected based on known shooting incidents between 2019 and 2021.

In a statement, Durham leaders said, “Although it is only 2.7 percent of the city’s land mass, the catchment area had the highest concentration of firearm incidents, including 33.9 percent of all incidents in which a person was shot”.

Earlier this year, Durham released a new map showing where a controversial new police vehicle will be located.

WRAL News has reported extensively on the debate over bringing the program to Durham. Proponents say ShotSpotter will speed up response times to shootings and can help victims get life-saving medical care in time. However, some Durham residents have privacy concerns about the idea of ​​police constantly eavesdropping on their community.

The City of Durham said an independent audit shows ShotSpotter has an overall accuracy rate of 97%.

“[From 2019 to 2021] for all customers, our audit confirmed that based on customer reports, ShotSpotter correctly detected, classified and reported gunshots with 97.69% accuracy, which is slightly higher than the 2019 and 2020 accuracy rate of 97 .59%,” the audit said.

Durham Residents: It doesn’t stop with ShotSpotter

Durham residents believe the technology can have a net benefit.

“I really think it’s a great thing for the community,” said Picasso Keaton, who runs a family-owned business in an area of ​​Durham called Hayti, south of North Carolina Highway 147. Hayti is a historically black area of ​​Durham that was the victim of racist rezoning laws in the 1960s.

ShotSpotter technology aims to help the city identify and deploy police to an area where gunshots were heard -- even if no 911 call was made.

Keaton believes that ShotSpotter can have a tangible impact on the problem of gun violence in the community.

“I really think it can help, help our community and help us come back together,” he said.

Charlitta Burrus lives on the east side of the technology coverage area.

“There are a lot of shootings in my area,” Burrus said. “I don’t really have a problem with him coming to our area.”

She’s accepting the program, but she doesn’t think addressing gun violence should stop there.

“We need to continue to communicate and work together. 911, the police department, the sheriff’s department. Everyone needs to be informed of exactly what’s going on,” Burrus said.

“If they can put it all over the city, periodically move the ShotSpotter technology from neighborhood to neighborhood and maybe cover all of Durham,” she added, “Because right now, Durham is nowhere exempt from shootings and shootings. firearm.”

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