Screen Shot 2024-02-16 at 4.30.45 PM

ShotSpotter foes off target, SW Siders say

Spread the love

.

Don’t want police to lose ‘valuable tool’

By Tim Hadac

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to eliminate the city’s ShotSpotter audio detection system are off target, several Southwest Siders are saying.

The most high profile among them are the three elected members of the Chicago Lawn (8th) District Police Council: Mark Hamberlin, Al Cacciottolo and Jason Huff. Earlier this month, the trio sent a letter to the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, the citywide organization they are a part of.

Eighth District residents “feel safer” when a ShotSpotter unit is installed, the three men asserted. “They do not feel over-policed…they do not feel disenfranchised when an officer stops a group of people hanging on a corner, flashing signs at passing cars.”

Background

ShotSpotter units arrived in Chicago in 2018. At the time, the new tech tool was hailed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other proponents as a breakthrough that would help police fight crime more effectively. When it works as designed, ShotSpotter detects gunshots as soon as they occur, within feet of where they occur.Screen Shot 2024 02 16 at 4.30.45 PM

Data from ShotSpotter units is transmitted instantly to officers at a central location. They, in turn, notify officers on the streets immediately.

When ShotSpotter was introduced to Chicago, its critics expressed doubt in its ability to detect gunshots accurately or to differentiate between gunshots and other noises, like fireworks.

Six years later, those concerns have essentially vanished as ShotSpotter technology has been fine-tuned.

In 2024, the criticism is not that ShotSpotter works, but that it’s racist, according to left-wing activists.

Systems like ShotSpotter are part of what some activists call a surveillance state, “Surveillance requires further investment in and engagement with anti-blackness, neo-colonialism and other harmful forms of oppression,” reads a statement from the Stop ShotSpotter advocacy group.

That same group claims that increasing use of surveillance tools by law enforcement agencies in Chicago is rooted in, among other things, “Israel’s continued perpetuation of genocide of Palestinians through tactics that include surveillance: the West Bank is one of the world’s most surveilled areas, and surveillance has been used in the forms of facial recognition cameras, Israeli authorities monitoring and listening to people’s phone calls, and more. Israel uses the West Bank and Gaza as testing grounds for their military and surveillance tech to then market them abroad, including in our communities across the U.S.”

While still a mayoral candidate in 2023, Brandon Johnson vowed to eliminate ShotSpotter units from Chicago.

“Chicago spends $9 million a year on ShotSpotter despite clear evidence it is unreliable and overly susceptible to human error,” his campaign website proclaimed. “Brandon Johnson will end the ShotSpotter contract and invest in new resources that go after illegal guns without physically stopping and frisking Chicagoans on the street.”

Yet in 2023, he not only did not end ShotSpotter, he extended the contract in June. A Loop newspaper reported that a mayoral aide attributed the extension to an accident involving an automatic signature.

With the contract expiring last week, Johnson came under increasing pressure to pull the plug on ShotSpotter, which costs the city millions of dollars each year. Activists say they want to dollars invested in ShotSpotter to be channeled instead to social workers and other efforts to prevent crime by promoting non-violence.

Shotspotter has its supporters

ShotSpotter’s supporters claim that the detection system has saved as many as 125 lives in the city since 2018, largely by getting police to crime scenes more quickly—preventing further shooting and resulting in more confiscation of illegal firearms.

Southwest Siders surveyed by the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound appeared to agree.

“Let’s be honest about who these ‘activists’ are pressuring the mayor,” said Gene McCarthy, a retired law enforcement officer. “Scratch below the surface and you’ll see the Defund the Police crowd. Scratch a little more and you’ll find the Abolish the Police crowd.

“ShotSpotter can be a very useful tool,” he continued. “It was not long ago when police had to rely upon [the general public] to dial 911 to report shots fired in their neighborhoods. That’s unreliable because so often, the calls didn’t come in–either because people were too apathetic or afraid to call or because they simply didn’t hear the shots to begin with. ShotSpotter changed all that for the better.”

Clearing resident Tami Gehringer said she doesn’t “understand how any reasonable person could oppose ShotSpotter. I hear the claims about over-policing and too much surveillance, but that’s just not accurate. It’s not like the police are tapping your phone or anything like that. ShotSpotter is just a passive detection system. It detects gunshots. What kind of a person would be against that?”

Garfield Ridge resident Jose Martinez-Ayala said he supports systems like ShotSpotter because he thinks “the riots and looting of 2020 brought it all home, how police and neighborhood watch groups and all of us need as much protection as we can get from criminals. When the poop hits the fan, I’m going to call the police, not a social worker.”

How ShotSpotter works:

Screen Shot 2024 02 16 at 4.29.32 PM

Local News

CRRNH_CosmoPhotoMDWArmory_032724

Pols want 63rd St. armory for new police HQ

Spread the love

Spread the love. Porfirio, Guerrero-Cuellar push plan in Springfield . By Tim Hadac Any plans the Chicago Department of Aviation may have had for the vacant Army National Guard Midway Armory, 5400 W. 63rd St., may be grounded, at least for now. Several elected officials are eyeing the parcel as the headquarters of a new…

CRRNH_OLS3rdGradersWinPizzaParty_042424

It’s (pizza) party time at OLS

Spread the love

Spread the love. Third graders at Our Lady of the Snows School break into cheers as they learn they’ve won a pizza party for selling more raffle booklets than any other class. The recent Grand Raffle fundraiser brought in about $6,000. Parents looking for a grade school for their sons and daughters for 2024-25 are…

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart

Dart wants free mental health care for first responders

Spread the love

Spread the love. From staff reports The Illinois Senate has passed legislation proposed by Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart that eliminates out-of-pocket expenses for first responders seeking mental health treatment. “We ask first responders to be constantly exposed to traumatic and dangerous situations to protect us,” Dart said. “This legislation is a solid step…

A security-camera image of the man wanted for the crimes. --Supplied photo

Hunt man who tried to rob Chase Bank

Spread the love

Spread the love. FBI looking for tips from public .  From staff reports FBI officials are appealing to the public for help in finding a man who attempted to rob a Southwest Side bank branch. The bandit tried to rob the Chase Bank branch at 5687 S. Archer (just west of Laramie) at about 11…

Giannoulias

E-Notary makes things easier, Giannoulias says

Spread the love

Spread the love. From staff reports Illinois residents will no longer have to notarize documents in person under a new Electronic-Notary system administered by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias’ office. Electronic Notarization, or “E-Notary,” will radically change the way people and use notary services, Giannoulias predicted. Without leaving the home or office, an individual or…

Mary Stanek

A simple idea for Earth Day

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . Moving right along through April, as the days get longer and nicer, time will start to go by faster. We have Earth Day on April 22 and the start of Passover at sunset.…

Kathy Headley

Bingo at St. Clare was something to yell about

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . Recently I mentioned a bingo fundraiser the Augustinian Young Adults of St. Rita of Cascia Parish were holding. This was their first attempt at a bingo and they put on a really nice event. Held…

Peggy Zabicki

One thing is certain: life goes on

Spread the love

Spread the love. Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . I get a lot of calls from residents who are discouraged about our neighborhood. There are so many car accidents, shootings and violent crimes being committed in West Lawn and surrounding areas. It certainly is challenging to stay hopeful and positive. Here is a paragraph…

The logosof the United Business Association of Midway. --Supplied image

Biz groups battle over names, logos

Spread the love

Spread the love. UBAM, MCC trade barbs . By Dermot Connolly and Tim Hadac The leader of one Midway-area business association is accusing the other of bad faith, and the leader of the other is scratching her head over the dustup. United Business Association of Midway Executive Director Anita Cummings recently claimed that a rival…

BesonenBookCover2024

Chicago Lawn native’s book is ‘off the hook’

Spread the love

Spread the love. Longtime journalist shares humor columns . By Tim Hadac Nancy (Emerson) Besonen has made a career as a news reporter and humor columnist for a weekly paper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But her roots are in Chicago Lawn, and it showed during a recent conversation. Like most true Southwest Siders, she didn’t…

Neighbors

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

Capitol Briefs: Expansion of postpartum coverage, ban on kangaroos among hundreds of measures to pass House

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois kangaroo owners are one step closer to being forced to surrender their marsupials this week after the House passed a bill criminalizing their possession. That was one of more than 300 bills to pass the House ahead of a Friday procedural deadline.…

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

Pritzker says state ‘obviously’ needs to change 2010 law that shrunk pension benefits

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com With a month-and-a-half left in the General Assembly’s spring session, Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration is readying its proposal to address Illinois’ chronically underfunded pension system. But the governor this week also acknowledged in the strongest terms yet that any plans to finally get the state on track toward…

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

Pritzker’s health insurance reforms targeting ‘utilization management’ clear House

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker celebrated a partial legislative victory Thursday night when the House passed his initiative to end some practices health insurance companies use to control the amount and cost of health care services individual patients receive. The “Healthcare Protection Act,” House Bill 5395, cleared the…

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ largest cannabis business association is pushing to ban the sale of delta-8 THC, an increasingly popular psychoactive substance that’s popped up in corner stores across the country in recent years. New legislation filed in Springfield this week revives an ongoing debate over delta-8 and other…

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com Lead pipes in public water systems and drinking fixtures have been banned in new construction since 1986, when Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, but they are still in use across the U.S. and in Illinois.  The presence of lead pipes has persisted due in part to…

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

By ALEX ABBEDUTO HANNAH MEISEL & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency to oversee Illinois’ various early childhood programs moved forward on Friday after the state Senate’s unanimous approval. It was one of 244 bills that cleared the Senate this week. Early childhood…

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

INVESTIGATE MIDWEST: Farmers have clamored for the Right to Repair for years. It’s getting little traction in John Deere’s home state

By Jennifer Bamberg, Investigate Midwest Originally published April 10, 2024 During the 2023 harvest season, one of Jake Lieb’s tractors quit working. A week later, his combine stopped working, too. Both were new — and he was locked out from making any repairs himself because of software restrictions embedded in the machines.  Instead, a technician…

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker appoints first-ever Prisoner Review Board director; Chicago advances migrant funding

By JERRY NOWICKI & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Weeks after two high-profile resignations at the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday appointed the first-ever executive director to help lead the beleaguered agency. To fill the newly created position, the governor tapped Jim Montgomery, who most recently served as director of…

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

Advocates renew push to tighten firearm laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Advocates for stricter gun laws rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday for a measure aimed at protecting domestic violence victims and two other criminal justice reforms. The bills are backed by organizations such as Moms Demand Action and One Aim Illinois among others. “These policies support…

Education leaders seek added state funding to help districts accommodate influx of migrants

Education leaders seek added state funding to help districts accommodate influx of migrants

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – The recent surge of international migrants arriving in Illinois has brought with it a host of new challenges for state and local officials. Those range from filling their most basic needs like emergency food, clothing and shelter, to more complex issues like lining them up with…