• Should Seattle spend on gunfire-detection technology?


    SEATTLE - A recent wave of gun violence has the city of Seattle considering a new high-tech weapon against gun crimes, but it may come at the cost of some privacy.

    Oakland and 70 other cities have tried out automated gunfire-locating systems that use microphones placed on power poles. One version of the technology is called ShotSpotter.

    “It tells us on a real-time basis where shots are fired,” Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell said. “It gives us the ability to dispatch police very quickly.”

    The system can even distinguish between gunfire and firecrackers.

    Harrell is pushing to try the system in Seattle, despite another potential drawback: cost.

    “You’re looking at maybe between $40,000 to $60,000 a square mile,” he said. “You’re looking at, again,  apprehending the people that are causing some of these problems.”

    In addition to the microphones, Harrell said he’d like to add cameras.

    KIRO 7 went to All The Cut Barber Shop, where Mayor Mike McGinn visited Wednesday afternoon, to talk with people about the idea of more high-tech surveillance.

    “I have no concerns,” said Tony, who owns and works at the shop. “You got to do what you got to do to keep the community safe.”

    Brandon Patton, a customer at the shop, said the city should just focus on more police and focused patrols.

    “That’s too much technology,” he said. “Just hire some more police officers or start sending them to patrol certain areas.”

    McGinn went to the shop to highlight increased patrols in the Rainier Beach area.

    On Thursday, the City Council will be briefed on ShotSpotter.

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