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Letter: Using Technology to Combat Gun Violence

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To the Editor:

The surge in gun violence plaguing American cities is undeniable. More than two-thirds of homicides are firearms-related. To combat the gun violence epidemic, some police departments are integrating technology into their crime fight strategies. One of the revolutionary advances is a gun detection system known as “Shot Spotter.”

Shot Spotter is a California-based company that deploys acoustic sensors to detect and locate gunfire incidents in real-time. In turn, this instantaneous notification can immediately dispatch officers to a crime scene. ShotSpotter technology is currently used in numerous cities throughout the U.S. In Connecticut, several municipalities credit “ShotSpotter” as an effective tool in combatting urban gun violence.

Gun detection technology affords police commanders insight into the frequency of gunfire within their jurisdiction. Sadly, research indicates that gun detection events typically do not align with 911 calls. This inconsistency suggests that some community members are hesitant to report crime. Sadly, this reluctance hinders police investigations, arrests, and prosecutions of gun offenders.

Regardless of what the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data suggests, crime in America is underreported. Therefore, it is vital for law enforcement to foster strong bonds with their communities, as well as invest in technology to help identify and prosecute gun-related crimes.

Dr. John Watts
West Hartford
Assistant Professor and Program Director, University of Saint Joseph
Retired Chief Probation Office

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