Chicago without controversial technology. City Mayor won't renew ShotSpotter deal

Chicago without controversial technology. City Mayor won't renew ShotSpotter deal

Chicago without controversial technology. City Mayor won't renew ShotSpotter deal
Images source: © GETTY | Houston Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images
8:36 PM EST, February 14, 2024

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced on Tuesday that the city won't renew its contract with ShotSpotter. That means this technology will dissappear from the streets of Chicago this year.

ShotSpotter is a product of the SoundThinking company, which is present in over 130 cities in the United States. It involves a system of microphones placed on the streets, which, using artificial intelligence, can identify a gunshot and send the exact location of the shot to the police.

According to ABC News, Chicago has been using this system since 2018 and has spent over $49 million on it. 2020 the city accounted for 18% of the company's total revenues. However, it will be ended this year, as Mayor Brandon Johnson will not extend the contract with ShotSpotter.

"The City of Chicago will not renew its contract with SoundThinking that expires February 16, 2024, and will decommission the use of ShotSpotter technology on September 22, 2024. During the interim period, law enforcement and other community safety stakeholders will assess tools and programs that effectively increase both safety and trust, and issue recommendations to that effect. Moving forward, the City of Chicago will deploy its resources on the most effective strategies and tactics proven to accelerate the current downward trend in violent crime. Doing this work, in consultation with community, violence prevention organizations and law enforcement, provides a pathway to a better, stronger, safer Chicago for all", stated City of Chicago in its official statement.

Opponents of ShotSpotter point out that the technology makes too many mistakes and is inaccurate and that it is being used racially biased and leads to excessive control of minority communities.

Sources: ABC News, City of Chicago

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