ShotSpotter's sights set on S.F. districts

Within 90 days, San Francisco will have in place a high–tech network that detects in seconds when a gun is fired and where the shooter is located.

The technology known as ShotSpotter, created by Mountain View-based ShotSpotter Inc., will be installed in the Bayview district and the Western Addition for a one-year pilot program.

The program comes as San Francisco’s homicide count is approaching the decade-high 96 slayings of two years ago. Of last year’s 85 homicides, the majority were committed with a gun. The Police Department receives 2,300 to 2,400 calls annually reporting gunfire — and that’s with a 50 percent reporting rate.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to release $400,000 to fund the program, which has the backing of Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The technology uses acoustic sensors to detect gunshots and where they were fired from. It can also detect gunfire in approximately a one-square-mile area in the Bayview andWestern Addition.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano questioned why the technology was only being deployed in just those two areas when the Mission district, which he represents, is also plagued by gunfire.

“I think it’s egregious that there is nothing for the Mission,” Ammiano said.

Mikail Ali, acting director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said that budget constraints limited the program to the two neighborhoods most affected by gun violence. Officials agreed to evaluate the ShotSpotter within 60 days after the technology was installed. If it is successful, the technology may be rolled out to other

neighborhoods.

“If it proves effective, we’ll advance the expansion of the pilot to the Mission, as well as the Tenderloin and other areas that are most hard hit by gun violence,” said Wade Crowfoot, Newsom’s acting liaison to the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty also supported the program’s expansion.

“The reality is more and more shootings are happening in the Mission district. It had been quiet, but I believe it has gotten worse,” he said.

San Francisco would follow other cities, such as Oakland and Redwood City, which have implemented ShotSpotter technology and have found it successful.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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