On July 16, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans sent out a press release pleasantly informing his constituents that the long wait was over: ShotSpotter had arrived in Shaw.
“On one hand I’m glad to see that ShotSpotter is up and running, but on the other, it’s a terrible situation that we need this technology in and around the Shaw neighborhood,” Evans states in his press release.
As many in the neighborhood know, ShotSpotter pinpoints the origin of gunshots by recording their sound. “People have been calling for it for a long time,” says ANC commissioner Kevin Chapple. They don’t see it as a “silver bullet” or a “cure-all”—-just one more thing possibly dissuading criminals from pulling the trigger.
Unfortunately, on August 4, Chapple had to break some bad news on his blog: ShotSpotter was not actually totally “up and running,” as previously stated. At a recent community meeting, Inspector Edward Delgado told roughly a dozen Shaw-area citizens that the sensors did not capture the sounds of local resident, Chris Taylor, getting shot near the corner of 7th and N Streets, Northwest on July 27.
Reached by phone, Delgado confirmed the account, saying that all the sensors by the crime scene weren’t operational at the time (luckily, actual real live cops were just around the corner at the time of the shooting.) He added that about 93 percent of the new coverage area’s sensors had been installed. The Metropolitan Police Department was still negotiating some MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) with private building owners to situate sensors on their property. Delgado couldn’t be sure when the entire coverage area—-which encompasses parts of Shaw, the U Street Corridor, Columbia Heights, Park View and Adams Morgan—-would be “up and running” until all the sensors were installed.
“Mind you, we are working on it. We want to make it operational. It has been very successful east of the river. We’re just trying to bring it to the third district,” he says.