Sunday, August 19, 2012

ShotSpotter CMPD Tool or Gimmick?

Shotspotter is up and running in Charlotte, and while CMPD won't say where the acoustic listening devices are located, Cedar Posts thinks this new equipment at the corner of 3rd and Church Streets fits the description.

Odd looking pizza box size squares, two of many recently added to Uptown light poles.


Besides the pizza to go boxes, along 3rd street and on top of a few uptown buildings, some questions have also popped up:

When CMPD's Deputy Chief Medlock first explained the Shotspotter concept and sought approval for a one year trial run, he told Charlotte City Council it wouldn't be up and running until after the DNC 2012 Convention. But as the CMPD email obtained by CP stated, the system went "live" last Monday. So, why the smoke screen?

Medlock also told council it would be deployed in a high crime area. However, Uptown where the equipment has been installed doesn't have a history of being either high crime area or an area plagued by gunfire and drive bys.

So why after all the talk of reducing crime was it not installed in East Charlotte or somewhere with a history of gun violence?

Since the Shotspotter technology has been installed in the area of the DNC 2012 and is now operational in time for the Democratic Convention why doesn't CMPD fund the project from DNC funds rather than taxpayers?

Then there is Medlock's assertion that you can't eavesdrop on conversations. Deputy Chief Medlock stated that "the sensors can’t record or detect human speech, and wouldn’t be used to spy on people" adding "it’s not a microphone.”

However, the Shotspotter technology is indeed able to pick up human speech as was the case with an audio recording of a street argument in New Bedford, MA that helped police arrest a suspect in a December 2011 murder.

Shotspotter officials say their acoustic sensors, are set up to detect gunfire, and are not designed to record conversations on the street. However, court documents show that audio surveillance helped provide specific details that enabled New Bedford Police to string together the sequence of events that ended in the fatal shooting. The full story is here.

CP's Take: Based on the above facts and quotes, Medlock is either not very well  informed, or if he is well informed and he knows about the case above then he's a liar.

Then there is Youngstown Ohio, where Shotspotter is getting mixed reviews after two years. "Last year, Shotspotter was activated more than 22,000 times. Gunfire accounted for more than 2,000 of the alerts." More from Youngstown Channel WYTV 33 News here.

CP's Take: If 90% of the calls are false alarms, is it really a good system? Are we going to send screaming police cars up Trade Street 22,000 times in the next year?

And finally Plainfield New Jersey where last Saturday night there was a double shooting that police say Shotspotter failed to detect. The full story is here.

CP's Final Word: I'm all in when it comes to giving our department the tools to get the thugs off the street.

But I have to wonder if using the highly patrolled Uptown area, during the first weeks of September when it will have more law enforcement officers in a four square mile area than the entire State of Texas is very smart. Wouldn't it make more sense to do a "trial run" somewhere that the police can't be 24/7? Somewhere like the Theresa Elder Park in the Avondale Oaks neighborhood?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Judging from past behavior, I would go with both uninformed and liar.

Anonymous said...

Idiot why don't you crawl back under your rock. You have no idea what you are looking for and taking photos of traffic sensors call them shotspotter is complete bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Anon:4:14:
My, My, Rob, you are an angry little man!!

Anonymous said...

traffic sensors?
Rob you moron

you just can't stand it that blogs keep busting the stupidity and waste the you and your boss keep dishing out to Charlotte and the officers

Anonymous said...

Once again Charlotte City Council just rolls over. Why is it that they don't ask any questions?

You would think at least one of them would ask where and if the answer was in front of the department, that someone would say what the hell!

Anonymous said...

Because they have a financial stake in covering it up. They don't want to have headlines showing them to be fools. They don't want headlines exposing the security flaws and wasted money and corruption, so they hold their breath and do their best to keep it quiet. Keep promoting fake security gains and keep spending our money. Keep planting flowers in the medians and congratulating each other.

Anonymous said...

Cedar, you do make Rob's little head turn red. Think I've even seen Rodney's turn red. They get so mad when you show the world what they're doing. They get really mad when the other blogs do the same.
The only ones they can't control with threats and lies and sponsorship problems. One day soon the City Council and Mayor will have to answer to the public, because real journalists are coming to town. The rest of the convention looks like it will be a disaster for Charlotte, but maybe some truth will come out.

Anonymous said...

These "shot-spotters" were used more than 20 years ago in Wash, DC. They proved to be ineffective. A shot is detected, police respond to a utility pole. Gunman is gone. It doesn't take people long to figure it out. They will start using the shot-spotters for target practice and enjoy watching the police chase their tails.

Anonymous said...

Well, 20 years ago our little chief was in Washington, D.C. Didn't anyone tell him?

Anonymous said...

CMPD is so screwed up it is unbelievable.....

Medlock and rodney have gotten in so far over their heads they can't see straight.

CMPD desperately needs a real leader! They have none, no one that can make a decision that is logical, reasoned and for the good of the good men and women of CMPD.

Every decision that is made is made with "how it will look"... not for "how it will work". They have no real long range plans, they never logically plan anything.

This DNC will be like nothing rodney or harold have seen.

And all the gizmos and gimmicks will not cover their ineptitude.