BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new method of tracking gun violence and police dispatch is expected to soon be in Buffalo’s Masten District.
Residents gathered Saturday morning at Masten’s monthly stakeholder town hall to learn more.
Councilmember Ulysees Wingo said those who don’t live around gun violence will never understand the trauma it causes.
That’s why he’s all in bringing a gunshot detection pilot program to the Masten District.
“And because it’s not a reality in their life. They think it’s a waste of money,” Wingo said.
“My community says if one life is saved, give me the technology that can help us save my grandson,” Wingo added. “My son, my nephew, my daughter, whomever that person might be, give them a chance.”
That technology is called ShotSpotter. The company installs acoustic sensors on the roofs of buildings and utility poles. Those sensors listen for gunshots, pinpoint the location and alert the police.
“Police get less than 20 percent notice of gunshots,” Ron Teachman, Dir. of Public Safety Solutions, ShotSpotter,” said. “We give them better than 90 percent. So where people think police know, but don’t show and they think they don’t care. We give police the chance to respond comprehensively.”
The City Council axed funding for the technology in the 2022-23 budget.
But with so much interest, ShotSpotter is moving forward with a no-cost six-month pilot program, only in the Masten neighborhood.
Erie County Legislator April Baskin said some community members have concerns.
“There are organizations in the community that have concerns that it’s another opportunity to oversaturate certain communities with surveillance and target disenfranchised residents,” Baskin told News 4.
Paperwork for the program will be sent to the City Council in January.
ShotSpotter hopes to get the program online by Spring. Once the pilot ends, the city will have to decide if they want to buy in to keep the system.
One question some have is how does this technology differentiate between a gunshot and loud noises? ShotSpotter says the software isolates the sound recording and a human double-checks before a patrol is sent out.
Here’s a look at the boundaries of the Masten District: