You Paid For It: Columbus City Council budgets $1 million for technology that can sense gunfire

You Paid For It

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The city of Columbus wants to invest a million of your tax dollars into new gunfire-sensing technology, but is it worth the cost? Police officers say yes.

It’s part of the city of Columbus’ capital budget, which mostly focuses on infrastructure needs across the area and safety initiatives.

Gunfire-sensing technology has been around for more than a decade but remains controversial in some areas. 

The technology can be very expensive, but Columbus leaders hope it can be a new tool in fighting crime. City Council has budgeted $1 million tax dollars for the technology in the upcoming city budget. 

One of the most popular companies that use gunfire sensing technology is ShotSpotter Inc. According to the company’s website they are currently in at least 85 cities across the country.

Cincinnati became one of those cities in fall 2017. 

“We are able to get to victims to the medical center to get the trauma care they need,” said Sgt. Jennifer Mitch with Cincinnati Police of using the new technology.

The system uses acoustic sensors placed in a neighborhood, and when a gun is fired, a series of mathematical equations triangulate the position, and a police are dispatched. 

“It is allowing us to find victims faster… and allowing us to make arrests,” Sgt. Mitch added.

In Columbus, city leaders hope to test the technology possibly in up to two neighborhoods.

Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Mayor Andrew Ginthers office told NBC4 it is too early to say where or when the technology may be introduced. But the move comes after a record number of homicides last year in Columbus.

In 2017 there were 143 homicides in Columbus, of those 117 were committed with firearms. According to Davis, the move is an attempt to make the city safer. 

“The City must use every technology available to reduce gun violence as part of our Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy. Mayor Ginther has allocated capital funds to explore gunfire detection systems as another tool in our efforts to make every neighborhood in Columbus safe,” Davis added. 

There have been a series of public meetings to discuss the Columbus city budget, the last of which is April 14th at the Linden Community center. City Council is expected to vote on the budget at the end of April. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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