Wednesday, May 16, 2018

“LINE OF FIRE” and “neighborhoods feeling like war zones”. Could gunshot detection technology be one solution?

UPDATE: A topic first brought up on this blog nearly a year ago: ShotSpotter. See the news below from last Monday as reported by Michelle Quesada at NBC5/WPTV. But first, here is some background:

In West Palm Beach there have been ten (10) homicides so far this year according to The Palm Beach Post’s Homicide Tracker database. All were victims of firearms. Last year was a terrible year in WPB. There were twenty-eight homicides. Twenty-six people were murdered by firearms. And then in November 2017, following so much carnage from guns the editor(s) at the Post finally got involved to try and find a solution:

“Nervous — make that terrified — residents need
to see that the police department can be relied
upon to keep their neighborhoods from
feeling like war zones.”

Editor at Palm Beach Post, Sunday, Nov. 12th,
2017, “Unacceptable rise in WPB homicides
requires quicker action”.

[Briefly, once again, just a reminder: According to the The New York Times’ Learning Network, one of the responsibilities of reporters, journalists, and editors is to, “Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.”]

Here is the latest news from NBC5’s Michelle Quesada, a news segment headlined “West Palm Beach Police announce plans for Crime Center including ShotSpotter technology” datelined May 14th, an excerpt:

West Palm Beach Police announced its plans to invest in technology that will allow officers to respond to a shooting before someone calls 911.
     Right now, if West Palm Beach Police get a call about gun shots being fired, they say on average people can be off about 700 meters about where the shots came from, that’s a distance covering about 300 houses, with new technology they’re hoping to get this year, they could narrow it down to 20 meters or a single house. [emphasis added]
     “Working with ShotSpotter, some of the research that they’ve done shows that there could be up to 80 percent of the calls or incidences that we are not capturing because someone has not called and told us about it or we're not in the area and we don’t hear it, said Chief Sarah Mooney, West Palm Beach Police Department.”

Take a moment and ask yourself these questions,
“Why is West Palm Beach going it alone acquiring ShotSpotter technology? Why not collaborate with other municipalities and PBSO?”

From this blog in 2017 and updated earlier this year, more information about ShotSpotter and acquiring this new technology:

A topic first brought up on this blog in June 2017, let’s consider “Shotspotter” technology or other gunfire locator and gunshot detection systems. Would that technology have helped law enforcement address any recent well-publicized violence and shootings here in Central Palm Beach County?

And 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? As was pondered last October [2017] on this blog, would it be possible for PBSO and cities such as WPB and Boynton Beach pool resources and work together to acquire a regional gunshot detection system?

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

Now back to “neighborhoods feeling like
war zones” and The Palm Beach Post.

Do you remember the “LINE OF FIRE” series about PBSO back in 2015–2016, an almost year-long effort? Just by coincidence, this series began running prior to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s campaign for re-election in August 2016. Bradshaw won that race by almost 66% of the vote.

Now 2–3 years later it’s an entirely different story plus the Post was recently purchased by GateHouse Media and no one seems the least bit surprised or even upset. If you recall, just a few years ago it was a much different story, it was all about Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, PBSO, and:

“LINE OF FIRE: Bullets, badges, and death on the streets”

Do you remember that headline, “Could riot
happen here?” See that front page, above
the fold blaring headline below.

If you’ve been paying attention there is a major political shift happening here in Palm Beach County and it’s called “collaboration”. For example, municipalities here in Central PBC understand well our future success depends on cities, towns and villages working together, not relying on or hoping for help from the State or Federal government.

There’s nothing wrong with a regional newspaper encouraging “collaboration”. A newspaper doesn’t always have to be on the prowl, searching for institutions to dismantle or “take down”. Because what if the institution that needs to be ‘taken down’ or in need of entirely new leadership IS a newspaper?

Wouldn’t that open up the possibility of another newspaper or newspapers entering the market and competing for the “public trust”?

Front page, below the banner blaring headline, “Could riot happen here?” which begs another open-ended question, “Was this wishful thinking on the part
of the editor(s) back in 2015–2016?”
By the way, open-ended questions should never be used in newspaper headlines. Back in 2015 the headline editor could have used the words
“Leaders Urging Calm”