Friday, November 17, 2017

Why isn’t the press and/or news media educating the public about “gunshot detection technology”?

Breaking news from Post reporter Olivia Hitchcock: “Six gang members arrested in recent Lake Worth killings

Six gang members, five of whom are juveniles, have been arrested in two recent Lake Worth killings, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.

Blog post from earlier today:

From the editor at The Palm Beach Post in the Sunday editorial last week:

     “The death toll understates the violence. As charted by Post reporter Olivia Hitchcock, gunfire has injured 12 people as well as killed two, just since Oct. 20. The mayhem has resulted in only two arrests.
     The shootings stem from the drug trade, sure, but for other, depressingly mundane reasons as well: a domestic dispute, an insult. Minor provocations that used to prompt a fistfight now end in semi-automatic fire. [emphasis added]
     It’s clear that there are too many guns around and too little sense.”
November 12th editorial titled, “Unacceptable rise in WPB homicides requires quicker action”.*

From Wikipedia: “A gunfire locator or gunshot detection system is a system that detects and conveys [in real time] the location of gunfire or other weapon fire using acoustic, optical, or potentially other types of sensors, as well as a combination of such sensors. . . . Systems used in urban settings integrate a geographic information system so the display includes a map and address location of each incident.

West Palm Beach has had twenty-five homicides so far this year, in 24 of those senseless crimes firearms were the weapon. Two weeks ago — over just a one-week period of time — there were two more homicides in the City of Lake Worth bringing the total number of homicides to six in 2017, 5 of those murdered were victims of firearms. Twenty-nine people murdered by guns in WPB and Lake Worth.

Just like injuries and homicides by gunfire are clustered in areas of West Palm Beach, that’s also the case in the City of Lake Worth. Only one homicide was east of Dixie Hwy.; the others were west of Dixie in District 1 and District 2.

[Click on this link for the map of Districts 1–4 in the City lf Lake Worth.]

Instead of looking at gun violence and shootings as a “Lake Worth problem” or a “West Palm Beach problem” could the solution be Lake Worth’s District 14 PBSO and the West Palm Beach Police Dept. working together and collaborating to acquire gunshot detection technology to help solve a regional problem here in Palm Beach County? Wouldn’t you like to know more?

But has a beat reporter from either Lake Worth or West Palm Beach taken up this topic? No.

This topic of gunfire detection technology is not a new one by any means. Gunshot detection technology (for example, ShotSpotter, “Real-Time Intelligence to Fight Gun Violence”) was a topic of discussion several times at the Lake Worth City Commission and possibly funded by the County’s ¢1 Sales Tax proceeds.

Last June after a homicide in Lake Worth, in City Commissioner Omari Hardy’s District 2 (the City’s 4th homicide of 2017), Hardy brought up the topic of “ShotSpotter” technology and District 1  Commissioner Scott Maxwell (also the City’s Vice Mayor) also came out in strong support of the idea and agreed to discuss this idea further.

However, in August at a City Commission budget work session we learned,

“This is a subscription service and is quite expensive. However, it was decided to work with PBSO and find out if there was a way to get around this problem.”

So. . .

As to the question — if an enterprising reporter is up to the task — how much does acquiring gunshot detection technology cost? If the cost is prohibitive is there a way for cities to pool resources? “Is it possible for the West Palm Beach PD and Lake Worth PBSO District 14 to work together and solve this very serious problem?”

Or is the real problem, for some who’ve become accustomed to the status quo, is the thought of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth working together to help stop gun violence just completely unimaginable?

*On the issue of crime the editor at The Palm Beach Post recently praised PBSO Sheriff Ric Bradshaw who “smartly requested $1.8 million to hire 15 entry-level deputies” applying for a highly coveted federal grant for COPS.
     Community Oriented Policing Services: This program is “the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing . . . through information and grant resources.”