Seattle City Council approves funding for controversial gunshot technology

Code on a laptop screen by Luca Bravo is licensed under

The Seattle City Council has greenlit funding for a controversial gunshot locator system as part of a larger crime prevention pilot project.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s 2024 budget proposal asked the council to consider using approximately $1.5 million on acoustic gunshot detection, video surveillance and automatic license plate readers, using unspent Seattle Police Department (SPD) salaries. Mayor Harrell stated it is necessary to reduce the city’s violent crime rate amid an ongoing officer shortage.

SoundThinking, formerly known as ShotSpotter, is the company that provides the technology in question, which is still called ShotSpotter.

One version of the detection system uses acoustic sensors to record the sound of gunfire and triangulate the origin.

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