The ShotSpotter system hard at work and stopping crime in Chicago (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has decided to move forward with a controversial technology that claims to detect and pinpoint gunshots throughout the city.

The Focused Intervention Team’s Community Oversight Group, or FITCOG, recommended the city adopt ShotSpotter in a July report. That report called the technology “a focused deterrence tool as part of the overarching gun violence response strategy” in the city.

In Thursday evening’s FITCOG meeting, Stephanie Howard, Wheeler’s director of community safety, said the decision to advance a pilot program with the technology was made that afternoon after Wheeler met with Police Chief Chuck Lovell to discuss the idea.

“Chief Lovell recommended exploring implementing ShotSpotter on a pilot basis and the Mayor agrees with that recommendation,” Howard said. “We’ll be working with council offices and making outreach to the community to determine the details of what that pilot might look like.”

ShotSpotter claims it can identify and locate gunshots in real-time using a series of small microphones placed throughout a neighborhood. That information can then be fed to the police. The company claims its technology can differentiate gunfire from other loud noises like a car backfiring or fireworks.

The technology is controversial and a number of recent studies have called its reliability into question.

Vice News and Associated Press stories last year found ShotSpotter analysts modified alerts to help police in Chicago and New York mold evidence to better fit police narratives. In some cases, ShotSpotter audio was the sole piece of evidence used to arrest and incarcerate someone. ShotSpotter filed a lawsuit alleging the stories contained false and defamatory statements.

Jonathan Levinson in Portland Green Lights Hidden Microphones to Combat Gun Violence

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  1. In the rush to “just do something”, they do something nearly useless… 🙁

    • “Questionable ShotSpotter”? Do your research Gracie. Shotspotter was proven to be totally useless (if not fraudulent BS) long ago. That the morons in Portland would want to purchase (certainly would be fed taxpayer $) is not surprising.

      • Read to to the end the article you dumb a**. Grace did not write the article. She posted the article, which was written by a Jonathan Levinson.

    • That was my first thought. Anything to avoid addressing the problem with real solutions. And as we all know, when seconds count, the cops are minutes away. Signal goes off. Patrol units are notified. They respond — I have read that the average response time across the nation is 16 minutes— the vic is starting to cool off by the time they get there and rigor is setting in.

  2. It does not work in Chicago so how would it work in Portland? The problem is democrats, elect republican leaders and you will be way better off!

    • Didn’t work in Troy NY either, with all the hills and varied terrain it skewed almost all the alerts into the neighborhoods that were overwhelmingly black and had gang presence so obviously geography is racist and does not allow the technology to alert as it should. (Satirical editing of actual press releases may be involved)

    • What difference if it works or not? They refuse to enforce the law, so what benefit knowing where a gunshot came from unless they plan to advise the rival gang to facilitate the reprisals?

  3. …and the attacks on the Constitution and law-abiding citizens continue unabated…

    In other news: downtown Portland smells like human urine and poop…the Portland Police Bureau is completely stymied as to the causes.

  4. Only works after the fact, and even then not very well. Their marketing department will disagree of course.

  5. How can the audio ID a shooter ? Does each gun have a unique voiceprint ?
    Need cops on the beat to arrest someone, and perps doing a dump & run will be long gone by the time authorities show up. A savvy gang could take out the equipment using target rifles or firebombs.

    • When actual policework is allowed the alert gives a time and general location to search for evidence, witnesses, ring door cam footage and try to identify and track a vehicle (more typical) or a suspect description (skinny jeans wearing a hoodie). With that said its a occasionally effective tool not a solution and often gets derided as being racist for summoning the police to the same neighborhoods repeatedly to harass residents.

  6. Someone should tell the mayor, spotting the shots is fine but you actually need to prosecute the shooters after!! Fool!!

    • This one hits so close to home it hurts. I would hope that none of the mayor’s staff/relatives stand to gain financially from any contracts.

  7. “Vice News and Associated Press stories last year found ShotSpotter analysts modified alerts to help police in Chicago and New York mold evidence to better fit police narratives. In some cases, ShotSpotter audio was the sole piece of evidence used to arrest and incarcerate someone“

    Vice news and the associated press?

    Of course no one here believes the liberal biased mainstream media, right?

      • “I’ll believe they might have ‘incarcerated’ someone for a few hours on the system info, but that’s about it“

        Really, a “few hours” you say?

        “Williams sat behind bars for nearly a year before a judge dismissed the case against him last month at the request of prosecutors, who said they had insufficient evidence.“

        “Now show me who was prosecuted using this technology???“


        “Williams was jailed last August, accused of killing a young man from the neighborhood who asked him for a ride during a night of unrest over police brutality in May. But the key evidence against Williams didn’t come from an eyewitness or an informant; it came from a clip of noiseless security video showing a car driving through an intersection, and a loud bang picked up by a network of surveillance microphones. Prosecutors said technology powered by a secret algorithm that analyzed noises detected by the sensors indicated Williams shot and killed the man.“

        The difference is, Fox News doesn’t conduct investigations, you need a real news source with actual investigative reporters with integrity:

        “But an Associated Press investigation, based on a review of thousands of internal documents, emails, presentations and confidential contracts, along with interviews with dozens of public defenders in communities where ShotSpotter has been deployed, has identified a number of serious flaws in using ShotSpotter as evidentiary support for prosecutors.“

        • There is no such “news source”, as proven repeatedly. As a result, I do not wish to see the crap presented by anyone as “facts”, or “we all know”, etc, just go ahead and show me the raw, unedited video of the event. Thus far, Fox News is the only source that backs up their reporting with video of the event, all others demand that we trust completely in the hate speech of their talking heads, then Fox shows the video which proves they are lying or just plain stupid.

        • “Fox News is the only source that backs up their reporting with video of the event”

          Would you be kind enough to provide a link to the Fox News video of the event mentioned in the article that both Associated Press and vice reported on?

          They did report on the inaccuracy of the shot spotter and the unlawful detention of the black man, right?

    • “…..ShotSpotter audio was the sole piece of evidence used to arrest and incarcerate someone“…… ”

      If they’re claiming it was the ‘sole piece of evidence’ in achieving a conviction on charges I’m calling BS here.

      Citation to cases please.

      I’ll believe they might have ‘incarcerated’ someone for a few hours on the system info, but that’s about it.

      • While unlikely given the locations it is possible with how liberal appointed police administration can often play loose and fast with civil liberties with no real consequences so long as they are politically acceptable. With that said I am curious on the details as well as I have not heard of any out of NYC.

        • Well, if Vice and AP did the actual research before making that statement, whiner should have no problem finding it.

          Wiki doesn’t seem to have any case content supporting the claim, did find this though….

          “A June 2021 study in the Journal of Experimental Criminology stated the system “may be of little benefit to police agencies with a pre-existing high call volume. Our results indicate no reductions in serious violent crimes, yet [ShotSpotter] increases demands on police resources.”[10] The NYU School of Law Policing Project published a paper in 2021, “Measuring the effects of ShotSpotter on Gunfire in St. Louis County, Mo”. The paper indicated a significant drop in gun violence in the area. However, the paper also discloses that ShotSpotter “has provided the Policing Project with unrestricted funding”.[11]”

          The Chicago PD getting 40,000 shot spotter police call outs in 21 months? Resulted in ZERO arrests? Wiki shows how effective the system is.

        • “Well, if Vice and AP did the actual research before making that statement, whiner should have no problem finding it“

          You really should try the search engine ‘google’, it’s amazingly effective.

        • Well Whiner, in your earlier comment it seemed like you were touting the effectiveness of the shot spotter system. Someone incarcerated on the SS evidence only.

          Looking into the situation, it’s readily apparent that Ds in control of Chicago had no problem violating that suspects rights.

          Hope you advise everyone to vote R going forward. 👍

    • Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

      Unless the VICE writers committed mandatory drug evasion and had a rare lucid moment.

  8. I’m sure that gunshots aren’t the only thing that the microphone picks up. Good way to bug without a warrant.

    • While the cell phones we carry already provided that capability from at least 2003 on yes it would provide an area specific device that could generally listen in if the microphones could pick it up (would be amazed if they couldn’t) without the troublesome hassle (when bothered with) of getting a warrant as it would be in public (would need to double check how parabolic microphones were treated re warrant requirements).

  9. What may be coming and should be coming is face identification technology and of course super scanners that detect when a person is armed. When scanning a store or street the scanner detects a weapon and matches the facial profile to identify the person. If such a person is a felon or has no carry permit the system alerts the police to the exact location of the suspect so he or she can be arrested or eliminated. Remember the current Capitalvanian police protection laws enable the thug cops to be judge, jury and executioner without a worry of any criminal liability. The Far Right instituted such outrageous laws as they have always had blind allegiance to authority.

    You facial scan will be mandatory when you apply for any type of a vehicle license therefore not exactly being mandatory on paper but in reality being mandatory for most people who work. Since you are not really forced to get a facial scan it will pass Constitutional muster. Of course anyone previously arrested even for spitting on the sidewalk will be scanned at the time of arrest as criminals have no rights.

    This would be an ideal tool for law enforcement to confiscate or watch and trail anyone carrying a gun in public.

    We already have this technology and its amazing it has not already been put into use.

    In addition implanted microchips on everyone would locate missing people, identify people who had been murdered, find lost or kidnapped children and track down felons or thieves that had robbed any establishment. Anyone on the street that was scanned and was missing a micro-chip would be immediately arrested by the thug jack-booted cops. Also removing a microchip would alert police that the owner had just done so and send the cops swooping down on them to arrest them or blow them away if they resisted.

    Don’t laugh or think this post was done in jest, it was not because people in power want and will get absolute power over you. The recent attacks by the Russian spies using microwave weapons on Americans are just yet another way to attack or control someone’s brain. This Sunday 60 minutes did a special on this new microwave brain attacking technology.

    Did you know that some countries have billboards with hidden spyware that scan your eyes when you look at the billboard. The next time you walk by that billboard it recognizes you and changes the advertisement instantly to mimic what you are interested in buying.

    The “Brave New World” is not something of the future its here already. The Government owns you and already tracks you with spyware everyday.

  10. The shot spotter system uses basic geometry to triangulate the location of any loud sound (fireworks, gunfire……).

    Hold on here………… Everyone knows math is racissis, so the Mayor wanting this system in Pee-land PROVES he’s racissis.

    • The geometry can’t cope with reflections from structures like buildings. The apparent source of the sound, which is what ShotSpotter relies upon, isn’t the actual source.

      • Agree.
        The system has to recognize and cancel echos (sound waves reflected of buildings/structures) to provide accurate data.

        More racissis math. 😃

        Fun fact, the Tommy Gun got the name ‘Chicago Typewriter’ because it sounds (from a few blocks away) like a typewriter when fired in a city.

  11. But their “doing something”. Like the gun “buyback”I saw on the local newz. What a raggedy bunch of chit. A bunch of broken old shotguns & ring of fire pistols. I did see one very nice revolver which a dummy gave away(promptly confiscated by an astute po -leece person.)

    • There is always one, still kills me any time an older smith and wesson ends up at a turn in……..even a GP100 at this point the way prices jumped.

  12. Journal of Experimental Criminology study for shot spotter: “may be of little benefit to police agencies with a pre-existing high call volume. Our results indicate no reductions in serious violent crimes, yet [ShotSpotter] increases demands on police resources.” >


    shotspotter employees frequently alter the data of ‘sounds’ captured to reflect them as possible gun shots to match police narrative. 90% of the time they are not gun shots. The police don’t actually analyze the data, shotspotter employees do it and notify police.

    There are literally thousands of normal everyday non-firearms things which produce these loud impulse sounds in the same frequency ranges as gun shot, they are around you every day. When then sounds are detected sensors send data to a pair of algorithms responsible for identifying a location and determining if the event can be classified as potential gunfire. Employees at the company analyze the data and notify police. Over 90% of shotspotter ‘gun fire detection’ are false alarms and there was no gun fire, but police have no choice but to respond anyway.

    ShotSpotter has admitted they manually alter the computer-calculated evidence “on a semiregular basis”, and it has never been independently tested.

    Vice’s Motherboard noted that ShotSpotter “frequently modify alerts at the request of police departments.”

    ShoSpotter claims a 97% accuracy ‘warranty/guarantee’, but the MacArthur Justice Center studied over 40,000 dispatches in an under 2-year period in Chicago and found that 89% of dispatches resulted in no gun-related crime, and 86% resulted in no crime at all. These results were backed up by a subsequent report by the Chicago Inspector General, which also found that police officers changed their practice by stopping and searching people for no other reason than that they were in a place known to have many ShotSpotter alerts (

    ShotSpotter’s CEO described an earlier 80% accuracy rate as “basically our subscription warranty,” but employee Paul Greene said “Our guarantee was put together by our sales and marketing department, not our engineers.”

    Cities being suckered into this system – thousands of false alarms before one actual detection, bogus claims of accuracy, system accuracy never been verified, altered data to match police narrative, ShotSpotters claimed ‘accuracy’ is pure marketing BS, police spend a lot of time-money-resources responding to these false alerts, no genuine decrease in crime rates, non-disclosure agreements preventing cities from saying anything about it that the company does not approve. They should rename this thing to ‘Sucker Spotter’

    • ShotSpotter is proof that you don’t need good technology — just good marketing. A few kickbacks under the table probably don’t hurt either.

    • We have shot spotter in our small city of 150,000 people. I have a friend who works for 911 dispatch where the feed is available to see.

      She said it works fine as long as its a quiet day. On major holidays or after sporting events, it has no value. Too many “spots”. So I guess it is not useless in Portland, but I’m not sure its going to help at all.

      The problem in Portland is they have far too few cops to respond to alerts and the DA doesn’t want to prosecute anyone.

  13. We have them in our city, and the police are responding to them usually finding the shot victims dead or wounded in the area a lot sooner than normal….but of course the usual “bad guys shooters” are not available! And as usual, nobody even the victims that are alive and can speak know nothing, and no witness’s will ever come forward. Then the usual statement is released ” if anyone has any information please call the Police department, Sherriff department, or the State Police, or Crime Stoppers for a cash reward without ever having to give your name” LOL……

  14. The inventors of shot spotter wants them everywhere.
    Portland should use the money to hire more sanitation department laborers and up their pay scale.

  15. I love it when municipalities adopt programs and schemes that demonstrably failed in other municipalities as if they all live in isolated bubbles and can’t see any examples from which to learn.

    But hey it’s only taxpayers money and he gets to look like he’s doing something so why not?

  16. Cool, IF it works it is still worthless, what good does it do to know where a shot was fired if it’s going to take 30 minutes to an hour for the cops to get there if they show up at all.

    • Well run larger city PDs are already using analytics programs to identify locations and times of day when certain crimes are likely to occur. If a locality is actually incarcerating and prosecuting offenders this “could” be a great tool.

      Scenario: Loud noise triggers the system at intersection of Plumb and 4th Street at 2:20am. PD responds and might find, a bleeding victim, spent brass, teens setting off fireworks, or nothing because it was a car that backfired leaving a nearby tavern. Even if it is the latter which is admittedly not a huge deal if it happens every Friday and Saturday night I would expect the PD to notice and issue a noise ordinance ticket.

      Looking at the data even if it is imperfect over time shows specific areas of a city that clearly need additional Police. Couple having Officers in neighborhoods with the most shootings and being able to proceed directly to that latest “loud noise” should produce results in areas with higher rates of shootings.

      Link below has an animation of triggering events in Washington DC over time.

  17. Even if the “Shotcaller” system works, you must have officers to repond. Portland and Seattle are not getting qualified applicants to apply, They are going to nearby communities that pay better without the Crazy policies that prevent them to actually do thier job.

    The city council in Seattle is so stupid they intituted a “Gun crime” tax on firearm sales and ammo. Gun shops simply moved just outside th city limits and then offered Seattle residents 10% off a new gun purchase. Hillarious.

    Seattle is a failed city, I live about 150 miles east, however work takes me to downtown Seattle two or three times a week. What was once an “Emerald city” is now a total Cesspool. Downtown is filled with grafitti, garbage everywhere, tents and human feces covering the sidewalks. Bums aggresively begging on every hwy exit and street corner.

    Seattle is proof that Liberal policies fail 100% of the time.

  18. This is NOT about guns, or safety. THIS IS ABOUT INCREASED SURVEILLANCE. Period. Just like in San Fran and many other big cities – the goal is increased surveillance. Because the psycho Globalists – the ones who are REALLY running our gov’t – can’t complete their desired digital prison w/o more surveillance.

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