The ‘shotspotter’ technology installed in Hanover Park to detect firearm usage is no longer operational as the system was merely a pilot project that ran until April this year. Residents of the crime-ridden area have complained of a lack of police response to gun related incidents in recent weeks, raising doubts over the effectiveness of a system that was initially implemented in August 2014.
On Thursday, the City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith cleared up some of the confusion around the gunfire-detecting technology, explaining that there will be no more responses because the shotspotter system is no longer in use. Smith also assured that during the pilot period, Metro police did respond to all related incidents.
“I think we saw around 2800 shootings during the period that the system was recording shots, but our incident response rate went up and as a result our ability to get evidence from members of the public,” he explained.
In addition, the period also witnessed an increase in the number of firearms confiscated by Metro Police officials.
Smith was critical of the lack of participation on the part of the South African Police Force (SAPS) during the pilot period, despite having invited the national police force to take part in the project.
Discussions have since been on-going as to whether to implement the system on a permanent basis.
Smith said the City would soon put out a tender on the system, not only in Hanover Park but other areas where gun-related incidents are highest, including Manenberg and Philippi.
Because the technology is considered relatively expensive, the City is hoping to give precedent in the tender process to local suppliers.
“The funding for that is secured so we are hoping to go out and tender soon, and we’re hoping we might even have a local supplier,” he stated.
Based on the station’s call centre against the results Metro Police were witnessing through the gunfire-detention system, Smith said only between 13%-15% of incidents were being reported by the public.
“One of the great benefits of the shotspotter is that it draws attention to those areas where it is installed, and forces a response. So I’m eagerly looking forward to its return, and this time we will have SAPS on board,” he declared. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)