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Dayton Police Department won't be renewing ShotSpotter contract for 2023

Desmond Winton-Finklea

ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection technology. Back in 2019, the city installed 60 microphones in a three-square-mile radius in Northwest Dayton. They were installed in response to a high rate of gun crimes, according to police.

The technology allows DPD to dispatch police officers to an area where the microphones pick up the sounds of a gunshot.

So far, in the three years the technology has been in operation, police attributed some success in crime reduction directly to ShotSpotter such as locating shooting victims and removing 56 firearms from the streets.

In astatement, one of the reasons city leaders said they’re not renewing the contract is that it's challenging to develop data showing how effective ShotSpotter is on its own.

A 2021 WYSO data review found fewer than 2% of ShotSpotter deployments resulted in an arrest.

Additionally, while the police said the area where ShotSpotter was installed does show a decrease in violent crimes, it cannot be solely attributed to the technology.

“Based on the analysis of the ShotSpotter data, considering community response, changes in state law, budget, officer response, and other factors, it has been decided that the City of Dayton and the Dayton Police Department will not renew the ShotSpotter Contract in 2023,” the statement read.

Dayton’s three year, $200,000 contract with ShotSpotter started in 2019. In 2020, the city approved nearly $600,000 more toward the program. The renewal this time around would've cost an additional $615,000.

During the time the technology has been in use, several local groups have expressed concerns about over policing in the areas where it is installed.

In a statement, the Dayton Police Department said the decision to end the contract was not taken lightly, but that it will continue focusing on gun crimes and working closely with the communities.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.
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Alejandro Figueroa