Some residents 'more comfortable' as Durham ShotSpotter set to deploy Thursday

Akilah Davis Image
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Some residents 'more comfortable' as Durham ShotSpotter set to deploy
EMBED <>More Videos

The ShotSpotter technology is rolling out in the Bull City on Thursday.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The ShotSpotter technology is rolling out in the Bull City on Thursday. Officials haven't stated exactly where the sensors will be and how many have been installed, but they are in place whether residents like it or not.

"I still don't think it'll help them catch the person that did it and how fast will they move," one woman questioned.

She wanted to remain anonymous but chose to weigh on Durham's gun violence problem and how she doesn't think ShotSpotter will help.

"I'm from a small area, you can call and say something is going on and it'll take them 30 to 40 minutes to get there. By that time the situation has gotten worse or the people escaped," she said.

Ashley Canady lives in McDougald Terrace and admitted to having a change of heart after attending a series of community meetings.

"I'm more comfortable now," said Canady. "My biggest question was if a gunshot rings out and someone is standing right where your thing is pinging, are you jumping out the car? The answer was no. They won't jump out on them or question them."

The ShotSpotter coverage includes a three-mile radius in east and southeast Durham, which had the highest concentration of gunfire between 2019 and 2021. In fact, the homicide rate in this community is higher than the city's average. Data from the ABC11 Neighborhood Safety Tracker show 70% of homicides in Durham during the past year happened here.

"This is not the boogeyman-type scenario that people have made it out to be. It's a tool," said Durham Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Anthony Middleton, who has been a champion of the technology that's been delayed twice.

He said the residents have raised valid concerns about privacy and over-policing but challenged them to look at the big picture.

"How is knowing the precise location of gunfire in a public setting a threat to our democracy? If you fire a gun in public, you have forfeited your right to privacy. You have our full and undivided attention," said Middleton.

ABC11 reached out to ShotSpotter and was told it typically deploys 15 to 25 sensors per mile. That means Durham is looking at up to 75 sensors.