With Shotspotter gone, some in Durham worry about gun violence escalating: 'What do we do now?'

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Some worry about gun violence without Shotspotter in Durham
ShotSpotter sensors went dark in the Bull City on December 20, 2023 and many are still wondering why.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been two weeks since the ShotSpotter sensors went dark in the Bull City.

There is now a sense of hopelessness among people living in the communities impacted by the decision to discontinue the gunshot detection technology.

"I've pretty much given up on things changing in Durham," said Ashley Canady, president of the McDougald Terrace resident's council.

Canady was skeptical when ShotSpotter first rolled out, but one year later given the results, she is convinced it works.

"The police were responding. It was actually finding people. They have found a couple of victims out here," she said.

The gunshot detection technology is off the table and she doesn't understand why. This decision happened within Mayor Leonardo Williams' first 100 days in office.

"It's been a lifestyle change with folks relying on a technology that's helping them feel safer," said Williams. "The reaction to the sensors going dark is what do we do now?"

Mark Vanhook lives a block over from McDougald Terrace. He lost his 17-year-old son to gun violence on New Year'sEve in the year 2000. His family lives in fear on a daily basis, and without the technology, he's concerned more lives could be at stake.

"My wife is afraid that a stray bullet will catch her," said Vanhook. "There's going to be more gunfire, I think. If they know that they are down. It will pick up."

It's a question many living in Durham are wondering including Canaday who has words for the four council members who voted against it.

ABC11 reached out to those council members on what led to their decision. We haven't heard back.

" Until they live in what we call the trenches or the neighborhoods directly impacted, they will never understand it," she said. " Long as they can go to bed at night and sleep peacefully and we have to hear gunshots."