Friday Jolt: Gunshots and Cheap Shots

By Afternoon Jolt September 21, 2012

Today's Loser: Automated gunshot locater systems like the one Mayor Mike McGinn has proposed for Seattle. 

Last week, Mayor Mike McGinn proposed funding for an automated gunshot location systems such as Shotspotter, the most widely deployed gunshot detection system in the world. The systems, McGinn said, could pinpoint the location of gunshots within 50 feet and four-tenths of a second, and detect the caliber of a gun "with 90 percent accuracy."

However, at least one city that has deployed the Shotspotter system is removing it less than two years later, citing missed gunshots and false alarms. In Birmingham, England, where teh Shotspotter system was installed in 2010, officials now say they're taking the system offline, citing "technical difficulties."

According to the BBC, police "admitted in August that the system was not as accurate as it had hoped and it had missed four confirmed shootings.

"Of the 1,618 alerts from the system since November, only two were confirmed gunfire incidents."

McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus says that while a tool like Shotspotter "can be very helpful; it’s not perfect. Lots of other cities are using this system, and have evidently had better experiences than Birmingham England. ... Also, keep in mind that we will be going through a competitive process. ShotSpotter is a particular company. The city may end up selecting another based on that competitive process."

Today's Huh? columnist Joel Connelly:

Connelly proves he's still at the cutting edge of 20th century humor with a tweet about ex-Sonic Shawn Kemp's virility:

Show Comments