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Detroit city council committee to consider $7 million ShotSpotter contract

Detroit skyline
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Detroit skyline

A Detroit city council committee will consider a $7 million dollar contract this week that would expand the gunshot detector technology ShotSpotter in the city.

That funding would come from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero said ShotSpotter has shown inadequate evidence of improving safety, reducing crime, or promoting positive relationships between residents and police.

The Detroit Police Department said since March 2021, ShotSpotter detected more than 25,000 shots fired. DPD said that led to more than 100 arrests and taking 300 guns off the street.

Officials from the police department told the Board of Police Commissioners on Monday that they have recovered 73 guns from 2,092 incidents detected by ShotSpotter in 2022.

"ShotSpotter will surveil our most Black and brown and poor communities in the city. And we know crime declines in communities that see investments in their street lighting, small businesses and a reduction of blight," Santiago-Romero said during a Friday press conference.

The Police Department also held a press conference on Friday.

"The number that keeps me up at night is the fact that we've had 7,000 plus ShotSpotter calls, but only 700 calls to 9-1-1. That's a very powerful realization. That means that we have members in our community that are not calling 9-1-1 when they hear shots fired," Police Chief James White said during the conference.

The city council’s Public Health and Safety committee will consider the contract on Monday. If it passes the committee, Santiago-Romero said the city council will vote on it during the regular city council session on September 20.

Briana Rice is Michigan Public's criminal justice reporter. She's focused on what Detroiters need to feel safe and whether they're getting it.