100 signatures reached
To: Members of Congress
Tell Congress: Ban ShotSpotter sales to police
ShotSpotter technology allegedly detects gunshots, but has been shown to cause false alerts. In Chicago, the use of ShotSpotter alerted police to an area that led to the police murder of 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Congress needs to ban ShotSpotter use by police and stop the deployment of this tech that aids racist policing.
Why is this important?
In Chicago, ShotSpotter allegedly detected eight gunshots near 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29. ShotSpotter put police on high alert and within five minutes, police had pursued, shot, and killed Adam Toledo.
Police already criminalize and harm Black and brown people, and they don’t need tech assistance to do it more often.
ShotSpotter technology allegedly detects gunshots. But in densely populated neighborhoods, where many Black and brown people live, it produces a high percentage of false alerts. In a six-month study in Chicago, the MacArthur Justice Center found that over 85% of the time, ShotSpotter did not lead to evidence of reportable incidents or crimes. They found that ShotSpotter is “wasteful, alienating for community members, and generates intolerable risks of avoidable harms.”
ShotSpotter increases the threat of police shootings by unnecessarily bringing police into confrontations with Black and brown people. The faulty technology, marketed heavily to police departments with free six-month trials, is currently used in more than 100 U.S. cities. With a $33 million contract, the Chicago Police Department is their largest client.
Adam Toledo should be alive today. Congress needs to take action to take out tech that reinforces racist policing — they should ban ShotSpotter use by police.
1. ”Police technology under scrutiny following Chicago shooting,” The Hill, April, 21, 2021.
2. “Chicago Awaits Video Of Police Killing Of 13-Year-Old Boy,” The Intercept, April 13, 2021.
3. “ShotSpotter Cities,” ShotSpotter Website, April 23, 2021.