DETROIT (WXYZ) — Saving lives in Detroit is at the centre of a strong debate over a cutting-edge tool designed to fight crime. However, opponents say expanding ShotSpotter technology is costly and unproven.
After her own family was impacted by gun violence, Terry Harvey knows the pain of someone opening fire on a loved one.
“Having an incident in my life in 1996, very concerned about it,” Harvey said.
For months and most recently, when an active shooter terrorized the west side on a shooting and killing spree, some leaders have called for the program's expansion. It detects gunshots and sends police immediately. Currently, it’s used in the 8th and 9th precincts, covering over 6 1/2 square miles.
If approved, the technology would expand to 28 square miles.
“Not only will we save lives, but deter young people who aren’t thinking correctly. Let that chief have what he needs to police the city and do the best we can,” Pastor Mo Hardwick said.
Chief James White added, “I think ShotSpotter has proven it works. We’ve found people in the act of shooting. We’ve found victims.”
Yet, ahead of a vote, some critics are raising doubts about the accuracy and if a roughly $7 million price tag is justified.
“I don’t understand why we would take dollars and use them for that when it hasn’t worked in other cities like Chicago and San Antonio,” Councilmember Mary Waters said.
Another citizen also said, “I don’t feel it’s justified. I think those resources could be used for other things.”
Detroiters will watch closely how the council votes on Tuesday in the community.