ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department launched a 90-day pilot program aimed at solving and deterring gun crimes. It's called ShotSpotter. If it sounds familiar, that's because APD has tested out this technology before.
Police and the city didn't think it was a good fit for Atlanta after they tested it in 2018.
In a report evaluating ShotSpotter, a program that detects and reports gunfire as it happens, APD said it helped them make five arrests during a one-year trial. It costs $280,000 to use the program for a year. APD turned down the software, saying it could just hire five full-time officers instead.
Yet, almost four years later, and under a new police chief, APD is testing out the program again.
The 90-day trial comes as APD is understaffed and reported 158 murders for 2021. In 2017, right before the first ShotSpotter test run, APD reported 79 homicides.
This time, the city is testing the system in a five-mile corridor on Atlanta’s Westside free of charge. Atlanta’s Westside is part of Police Zone 1 where, according to APD, shootings have increased. The pilot officially kicked off on March 24.
During the first trial, APD said ShotSpotter often duplicated gunfire alerts, so it was overreporting the number of shootings actually happening. APD has not said why it is giving this software another chance.
However, in a previous statement sent to 11Alive, a ShotSpotter said it has made significant improvements.
ShotSpotter is not disclosing potential costs to Atlanta, yet. APD said that after the free, three-month test, they will decide if this technology, or similar technology, will be used here, city-wide and long term.