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In its ongoing, increasingly desperate and obviously ineffective attempt to stem the rising tide of gun violence, Chicago’s throwing everything against the proverbial wall. Well, not everything. Kidnapping and torture are now off the menu. At least officially. Until the Windy City cop retires. Where was I? Oh yes, crime fighting in the gun control capital of the country. The city recently put unaccountable felons (a.k.a., “violence interrupters”) on the payroll, shoveling taxpayer money to the recently renamed Cure Violence Chicago non-governmental organization. They’re also going high-tech, installing ye olde Shotspotter shot spotting technology. You know; so they can ID shooters and arrest them. This despite the fact that reports that . . .

Gunshot detection technology was tested previously in Chicago between 2003 and 2007, but was rejected as too expensive and ineffective.

“You know, that’s a century in the technological world. They’ve improved it dramatically,” [Chicago Police Supt. Garry] McCarthy said. “It’s very, very accurate. My understanding is it triangulates it to sometimes down to a foot, or three feet.”

He said it’s already been successful in several incidents.

“In these incidents, ShotSpotter successfully identified shots fired events, and effectively directed our officers before receiving 911 calls for service from the public,” McCarthy said.

Quick question: was anyone arrested in these incidents? Is that “Won’t Get Fooled Again” I don’t hear playing in the background?

In fact, Shot Spotter was recently rejected by another [legal] gun-free paradise plagued by perps’ pistol craft. Here’s the bad news from Trenton dated December 2011.

According to this report, the Shot Spotter sent Garden State cops on wild goose chases. In other words, having it was worse than not having it. Who’d a thunk? But that’s OK, I guess, because “The $200,000 cost has been covered by forfeited assets.” Not the time wasted or the running costs, mind you.

Hey! Here’s an idea! Let law-abiding Illinois residents keep and bear arms. As in carry. Make it easy for them to do so. See what happens to the violent crime rate in general and gun violence in particular. Hey, it’s worth a try.

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  1. Not that I approve of this system, but these shot-location systems have been around since the mid-90s and successfully deployed (and by that I mean functional) in other burgs for quite some time.

    If memory serves, East Palo Alto (Bay Area CA.) was the first to get the system and it was developed by a seismologist who’s name I forget.

    It has proven to lower the random guns in the air like we don’t care party discharges, but statistics show it generally rather irrelevant against real crime. Sorta like red-light cameras…

    • I live in the Bay Area and I’m in/around East PA on a pretty regular basis. Redwood City (same vicinity) also has the system deployed, IIRC.

      I can’t recall the last time I saw a news story about an arrest or conviction resulting from ShotSpotter leads. In fact, it appears to be used on an exception basis for times of heightened risk of “celebratory gunfire” rather than in continuous use:

      Short version: it’s not cost effective for everyday use, and it’s used as security theater (hello TSA!) on the holidays to discourage idiots from shooting at the moon on New Year’s Eve.

  2. I’ve lived in Chicago and San Francisco. Chicago is a far easier place (based on how buildings, streets, etc are laid out and the spaces between them) to make a criminal hit and then walking, running, or driving away get out of the area before cops can roll in. If the po-po don’t have cameras they don’t know who to arrest unless the shooters stay stationary and assuming the technology now works.

    I wonder if Chicago will go like London and places cameras almost everywhere. Perhaps the next solution will be vastly employing drones. Soon, everyone will be wearing hoodies, big broad-brimmed hats, and masks.

    • Chicago does have cameras almost everywhere. Yet it’s very rare that they are cited in the arrest of a BG. Frequently, they’re non-functional. Plus, BGs know where they are (most of them are distinctive blue and white boxes with a PD logo and a flashing blue light) so they’ve been known to take care of business out of sight of the cameras.

      Generally, a waste of money.

    • Drones would be very difficult. The traffic in and out of O’Hare and Midway can be very dense, so the drones would have to be at very low altitude. That would make them an issue for buildings. It wouldn’t be long until someone hacked the remote control signal and stole it. They would have to be up at 50,000+ ft.

  3. So Shot Spotter is expensive, ineffective, useless and having it is worse than not having it. Big deal — the same goes for Chicago’s government, but the good citizens of the Windbag City keep it anyway.

  4. I was curious what Chicago was paying the city employees and elected officials who come up with this stuff.

    Police Supt. McCarthy is the highest paid city employee with an annual salary of $260,004.

    Name Title Salary
    Emanuel, Rahm Mayor $216,210
    Mintle, Theresa E Chief Of Staff $174,996

    So there you go, $651,210 for these mental midgets. Plus, that’s only BASE salary, Does not even count the cost of the “perks”.

    • And then there’s my city, where a City Council member was attacked outside a bar a few months back and said “Meh, no big deal, crime has dropped so much in the last decade that it’s an anomaly, not the norm”.

  5. High school word problem time:

    You have a gunshot detection system that can pinpoint the origin of a gunshot within 3′ and report it instantaneously to the police (I know, I know, but humor me). The police have an average response time of 7 minutes. A shooter in a moving vehicle can average 30mph in the city without attracting undue attention to themselves. Calculate:

    1) The area of the circle which could contain the shooter at the time the shot is detected.

    2) The area of the circle which could contain the shooter by the time the police arrive at the shot’s origin point.


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