Gunshot acoustic tech is part of 'broader holistic plan'

Ralph A Clark, CEO and president of SoundThinking (formerly ShotSpotter), responds to ITWeb’s story: SAPS channels funds towards disputed gunshot tech, published on 31 May:

“The article repeats a misinformed narrative that has been created by a handful of opponents against the use of acoustic gun technology in the fight against gun crime; namely, that it alone must be responsible for reducing gunshot incidents where it is deployed.

“However, this technology is just one tool in a suite of interventions that minister of police Bheki Cele recently announced in his Budget Speech in Parliament, including CCTV cameras, other aerial surveillance technologies, as well as more visible policing to make communities safer.

“The specific role gunshot acoustic technology plays in this suite of interventions is that it detects gunfire in real-time, thereby enabling a rapid and precise response by law enforcement to these incidents. Taking into account that around 80% of gunfire incidents in communities are not reported to the police, it is clear this technology plays a critical role in alerting them to incidents they likely would never have known about.

“The police responding rapidly to every incident, in turn, improves the quantity and quality of crime scene evidence, which leads to more arrests, improved prosecutions and conviction rates. And, the data gathered by the technology allows for proactive policing and investigation by identifying time and location hotspots, allowing for a more precise and efficient allocation of law enforcement resources, including the deployment Tactical Response Teams that SAPS also plans to invest in to assist policing in high crime areas.

“The benefits of utilising this technology have already been seen in the areas it has been deployed in the City of Cape Town since December 2022, with a number of arrests and illegal firearms covered as a result of law enforcement authorities arriving at the precise location of a gunshot incident, a few minutes after it has occurred.

“Importantly, gunshot acoustic technology, as well as a range of other crime-fighting tools used by government, must also form [part] of a broader holistic plan that includes a proper functioning criminal justice system, as well as provision of social services and upliftment projects in communities.

“With the recent quarterly crime stats revealing that all categories of violent crime have seen increases between January and March 2023, when compared to the same period the previous year, it is clear that we need all hands on deck to tackle this crisis. SoundThinking is committed to continue playing its part in assisting SAPS and municipal law enforcement authorities to respond to gun crime and improve public safety in communities.”

SoundThinking (formerly ShotSpotter) is a public safety technology company that provides transformative solutions and strategic advisory services to make communities safer.

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