Chicago ditches shotspotter: advocates dub it racist and costly. Rising response

February 23, 2024
1 min read


  • Chicago cancels the use of ShotSpotter technology due to concerns about racism and high cost.
  • Advocates argue that the technology disproportionately affects minority communities and is not effective in reducing crime.

In a recent debate on Rising, Jessica Burbank and Amber Duke discussed the decision by Chicago to cancel the use of ShotSpotter technology in the city. Advocates have raised concerns about the technology being racist and expensive, leading to the city’s decision to end its contract with the company.

ShotSpotter is a technology that uses acoustic sensors to detect and locate gunshots in real time, alerting law enforcement to the location of the incident. However, critics argue that the technology often leads to over-policing in minority communities, further exacerbating systemic issues of racial discrimination in law enforcement.

Burbank and Duke debated the effectiveness of ShotSpotter in reducing crime rates and whether the high cost of the technology justified its continued use. Burbank pointed out that there is limited data to support the claim that ShotSpotter actually helps to solve crimes, while Duke highlighted the impact of the technology on communities of color.

The decision by Chicago to cancel the use of ShotSpotter highlights the ongoing debate around the use of technology in law enforcement and the need for systems that prioritize community safety and justice. As discussions around policing and racial equity continue to evolve, it is crucial to consider the perspectives of those most affected by these technologies and work towards solutions that address systemic inequalities.

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