KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- ShotSpotter has been the inner-city sonar police have been using to track crime in Kansas City neighborhoods.
It was brought to Kansas City in 2012, partially thanks to federal grant money. But that money is now gone, and taxpayers are footing the bill.
Wichita police are launching a new program using artificial intelligence to track gunshots in high crimes areas. It’s like the ShotSpotter technology.
Right now, there are sensors placed in undisclosed areas of Kansas City that detect gunshots. It started out as pilot program using federal grant money back in 2012. Now, the city pays $164,000 a year.
There are areas of Kansas City where gunshots are just a part of life. Many people living near Prospect Avenue and 31st Street don’t even call the police anymore.
“Because their response is so off. I don’t even … I mean why?” Michael Taylor says.
“They come late. And then by the time they get there, it’s over with,” Misty Wilson said.
ShotSpotter sensors pick up audio, and it goes to a processing center in California where an actual person determines whether the sound is actually a gunshot. Then, the info is sent back to police dispatch in Kansas City
Kansas City police say it works.
“So that’s why we keep doing it, because it’s showing real results,” Councilman Quinton Lucas said.
Lucas is on the city’s Public Safety Committee. He says the cost for the ShotSpotter is about the same as hiring one more officer, but it does a job an officer can’t.
The city is asking for proposals and bids for different ways the police department can use technology to make neighborhoods safer.
“It may be a little while and before we have the drones that are flying around the city, but at the same time I think it’s time for us to make sure we are using smarter technology,” Lucas said.
Lucas says the city is open to anything and so are some residents.
“I think that it would help us a lot, to protect all of us out here so we don’t have to be so scared,” Vicky Banks said.
Police wouldn’t say exactly how many sensors there are or where exactly they are. They did say that calls from those sensors have led to more than 100 arrests, more than 50 gun seizures and over 3,000 shell casings recovered since they were installed.