As the US grapples with ever-rising gun violence, public safety companies are stepping up with innovative solutions to catch perpetrators in their tracks. But according to recent studies, some of these systems are coming up short.
Tampa just renewed another contract for the controversial gunshot detection software owned by public safety technology company Sound Thinking (NASDAQ: SSTI), formerly ShotSpotter, reigniting debate about the system’s actual usefulness in crime detection and prevention.
The decision to renew its contract, at a cost of $280,000 to cover a four-square-mile area in East Tampa, was not without controversy. Council member Lynn Hurtak, the lone dissenting voice, highlighted the inefficacy of the system by citing an alarming number of false alerts in Chicago, where around 40,000 ShotSpotter alerts resulted in dead-ends for police.
The ShotSpotter system’s effectiveness has been further questioned in other jurisdictions. In Kansas City, where ShotSpotter has been in use since 2012, a recent academic research project funded by the National Institute of Justice found that the technology did not significantly contribute to increased prosecutions of gun-related crime. Despite this, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners approved nearly $200,000 for a one-year renewal of ShotSpotter, indicating a commitment to the technology despite the study’s findings.
These concerns are not isolated. A May 2021 study by the MacArthur Justice Center in Chicago raised serious doubts about ShotSpotter’s touted 97% accuracy rate. The study revealed that 89% of ShotSpotter alerts in Chicago turned up no gun-related crime, and 86% resulted in no crime at all. This discrepancy between reported efficiency and actual performance has stirred skepticism about the technology’s reliability and its role in law enforcement.
Amidst the growing concerns over the effectiveness of ShotSpotter, advanced public safety technology company Knightscope, Inc. (NASDAQ:KSCP) just announced the launch of its Automated Gunshot Detection (AGD) system, which boasts capabilities that could potentially outperform those of ShotSpotter.
Revolutionizing Security with Automated Gunshot Detection
Knightscope‘s AGD system is designed for rapid response, capable of detecting a gunshot in less than 2 seconds. This swift detection is a significant improvement compared to ShotSpotter, which typically responds in under 60 seconds. In critical situations where every second counts, Knightscope’s faster detection could be the key to quicker law enforcement response and potentially more effective crime prevention and resolution.
What’s more, Knightscope‘s technology offers superior precision in locating a shooter. The AGD system can pinpoint the shooter’s location within a two-meter radius, a stark contrast to ShotSpotter’s 25-meter radius. This enhanced accuracy in determining the exact source of gunfire could prove invaluable in urban environments, where every meter can make a difference in effectively identifying and apprehending a suspect.
The AGD systems, designed for both indoor and outdoor environments, are available as stand-alone sensors that can be easily mounted to existing structures or with the optional pole-mounting kit and solar power for increased installation flexibility. Knightscope, Inc. (NASDAQ:KSCP) clients will soon have the option to include AGD with new K1 Blue Light Tower orders or upgrade the existing 7,000 devices deployed nationwide.
Knightscope‘s introduction of such advanced technology into the market comes at a crucial time. With cities like Tampa and Kansas City evaluating the effectiveness of their current gunshot detection systems, the need for more accurate and responsive technology is clear.
For those interested in learning more about Knightscope‘s innovative projects, additional information can be found on the website of Knightscope, Inc. (NASDAQ:KSCP).
Featured Image @ Knightscope
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