Durham city leaders to consider 3-year ShotSpotter contract

Durham city leaders to consider 3-year ShotSpotter contract

The Durham City Council is set to deliberate on the potential reinstatement of ShotSpotter technology, with discussions revolving around a proposed three-year contract for the gunfire detection system. Following the conclusion of a one-year pilot program in December, city leaders are now weighing the option of renewing their commitment to ShotSpotter, with a proposed expenditure of $650,000.

Council members will scrutinize data provided by the Durham Police Department to inform their decision regarding the multi-year agreement. ShotSpotter operates through strategically positioned sensors within a three-square-mile radius near downtown Durham, enabling the detection of gunfire incidents and prompt notification of law enforcement authorities.

During the pilot phase, data from the Durham Police Department revealed a total of 1,416 ShotSpotter alerts, corresponding to 5,259 detected shots over the course of the year, excluding specific holidays such as New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day. On average, there were 3.9 alerts per day, with each alert typically indicating 3.7 shots. Notably, approximately 26.9% of ShotSpotter alerts coincided with emergency calls from residents.

Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews emphasized the importance of swift response and evidence collection in addressing gun-related incidents, underscoring the operational significance of ShotSpotter technology. Despite the conclusion of the pilot program, which did not impact police procedures, the effectiveness of ShotSpotter in facilitating law enforcement interventions is evident, with 24 arrests attributed to the department’s response to ShotSpotter alerts.

Chief Andrews advocated for the adoption of ShotSpotter, highlighting its role in initiating a significant proportion of shooting reports received by law enforcement, amounting to nearly 80% of total notifications. The upcoming City Council meeting scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. will serve as a platform for deliberation and decision-making regarding the potential renewal of the ShotSpotter contract, with considerations encompassing both the operational efficacy and financial implications of the proposed technology investment.